Though we usually think of our teen years as the time when we have to deal with acne and all of its unpleasant and embarrassing lesions, adult acne is pretty common. About 35% of women between the ages of 30 and 39 get acne, as do 20% of men. Worse, more than 15% of women and 7% of men are plagued with whiteheads, blackheads, zits, pimples, cysts, or nodules after age 50.
And though you may feel as energetic and “tapped in” as you did in your teen years, you really don’t want a typical teenager’s zit-filled skin. Especially since you’ve already begun battling wrinkles and sags.
Adult acne is usually caused by the same factors that trigger teen acne. A surge of androgens (male hormones) boosts the production of oily sebum, which slows down skin-cell shedding in your pores.
The dead cells clump together, which encourages a bacteria on your skin called Propionibacterium acnes to feast and proliferate. When P acnes overgrows, your lesion gets inflamed, becoming a pink pimple, a cyst, or a nodule.
If you’re a man with acne, you’ve probably been dealing with it since you were a kid; adult-onset acne is rare in men. If you’re a woman, you might have continued to break out from adolescence onward, or you might be experiencing your first breakout as an adult. In adult women, surging hormones can be triggered by:
- Starting or stopping hormonal contraceptives
Other causes for adult acne include:
- Skin irritation from clothing, hats, or worn sports equipment
- Comedogenic skin and hair products
- Medications, such as corticosteroids
What to do?
This time, the remedies that you relied on as a teen don’t clear up your skin. In fact, the harsh chemicals in over-the-counter (OTC) acne lotions make your dry, aging skin look and feel worse.
The experts at Specialists in Dermatology in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, custom-design treatment plans that consider your skin quality and tone as well as the severity of your acne. And, unlike OTC remedies that may take months to improve your acne, your doctor selects treatments that get you clear fast.
Yet another reason to consult a Specialists in Dermatology doctor is to ensure that your lesions really are caused by acne. Your expert evaluates your skin to differentiate acne from similar looking skin conditions, such as rosacea.
Treat and prevent
Your dermatologist selects from a variety of treatments to both resolve your current acne lesions and to prevent new ones by improving the health and quality of your skin. Therapies may include:
- Reducing oil and killing P acnes with medical-grade topical therapies
- Antibiotics to kill P acnes
- Isotretinoin (Accutane®) for severe, nodular acne
- Oral contraceptives for women to balance hormones
- Intralesional injections to clear pimples and cysts quickly
- Manual extraction and drainage of acne lesions
Your Specialists in Dermatology expert may also recommend regular chemical peels to keep dead skin cells from clogging your pores. Your expert can also individually tailor a medical-grade skin care system that addresses all of your skin issues.
To keep your skin healthy and clear of adult acne, contact us by phone or online booking form.