Acne… just the thought of it can send you into a frenzy. Once thought of as just an adolescent, teen condition, we are now seeing more and more adult acne conditions. Why is this happening? Should we treat adult acne the same way as we treat acne in younger skin? And what are the best ways to combat this difficult and frustrating skin condition?
Understanding What Acne Is
Acne is often described as a disease involving inflamed or infected oil glands, the condition is characterized by red pimples on the face. It oftentimes occurs in people who have a genetic predisposition; if acne runs in the families of both parents, three out of four children may suffer from it.
Activity of the sebaceous gland is stimulated by many factors, including the onset of puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pharmaceutical agents, stress, using inappropriate products on the skin, heat, friction and humidity.
Why is Adult Acne on The Rise?
Triggered by hormones, acne can occur at any stage in our lives. The primary aggravating factor leading to adult acne is chronic stress. We all know that acute stress can cause a breakout from time to time. But chronic, continual stress increases hormone levels, which can lead to an increase in oil production.
Clinical studies indicate that between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin. According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 54 percent of women older than age 25 have some facial acne.
What Can Be Done To Fight Acne?
- Keep your skin clean but don't overdo it – Cleanse your skin every night before bed and every morning. The only time a third cleanse would be needed is post-workout or sports activity. If we continually strip the skin of the natural oil production, the oil glands will actually go into overdrive and start producing more oil to overcompensate. This could lead to more breakout. Look for a pH balanced cleanser this will help too.
- Avoid scrubbing with facial brushes or washcloths – Not only can this lead to irritation and more inflammation, which will exacerbate the condition, it can also spread the p.acnes bacteria that causes breakout. Use your fingertips instead, massaging gently to remove make-up, daily dirt and oil.
- Cleansing is not enough – Look for an ance "treatment" product. Try a Salicylic acid-based serum, the skin prefers an acidic pH environment and Salicylic acid will fight the acne causing bacteria, clear blemishes and help balance oil production.
- Even breakout-prone skin needs hydration – Mention "moisturizer" to someone with breakout and they may run for the hills. More moisture has to mean more breakout and oil, right? Wrong! The skin needs balance, once again a lack of balance will cause those oil glands to produce more oil, triggering more bacteria, leading to more breakout. The word "hydrator" is more friendly for acne or breakout-prone skin. Think "water", a hydrating drink of water for the skin. Look for an oil-free moisturizer of SPF that will bring that much needed balance and protection.
- Speaking of water… - DRINK IT! Lots of it! Water helps to flush the toxins in the body as well as in the skin. Skip the sports drinks, sodas and caffeine boosted drinks, water will help to detox leaving your skin clearer and glowing.
The most important thing to remember, no matter what your age and what your skin happens to be going through is to find a well balanced, healthy skincare regimen and stick to it. Bouncing from product to product will confuse your skin even more. It will take a good 3 to 4 weeks to start seeing change in the skin and the efficacy of the products you are using. Acne is one of the most difficult skin conditions to treat, following the above 5 suggestions as well as a little patience and a good skincare regimen will help you fight the good fight to clearer skin.