Acne, one of the least likable parts about being a teenager, may continue to be a nuisance well into your adult years. Adult acne can occur for a variety of reasons and may persist for decades after you could legally drive. Our dermatologists can help you keep your adult acne under control so that you can have the healthy, clear skin you desire.
About Adult Acne
Adult acne is often different than teenage acne. Some adults may develop what is known as “adult-onset acne,” meaning they never had it as a teenager. Treatments that may have worked effectively against acne during adolescence may have a useless or worsening effect on adult acne. Women tend to be affected more than men. Adults can get acne in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s.
Causes of Adult Acne
Adult acne may occur for the following reasons:
- Hormonal changes: Especially in women, fluctuating hormones associated with menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, and birth control pills can trigger acne breakouts.
- Stress: The body produces more androgens during stressful periods, which stimulates oil glands and can lead to acne.
- Poor skin and hair care products: Products used on the skin and hair shouldn’t clog pores and should be oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-acnegenic. Products that do not have these terms on their labels may cause acne.
- Genetics: Some individuals have a genetic predisposition for adult acne.
- Medical reasons: Certain medical conditions as well as medications (e.g., steroids and anticonvulsants) can cause acne.
Getting the Treatment You Need
To effectively treat adult acne, the most likely cause should first be identified. For instance, if a medical condition is the suspected cause of your acne, your acne may go away once you get treatment for this condition. Likewise, if acne is a side effect of a medication, switching to a different medication (with your doctor’s permission) may resolve it. Steps to acquire the best skin care products, stabilize your hormones, and reduce stress can all help regulate the skin and prevent acne breakouts. If these treatments are insufficient, our dermatologists can devise a customized acne treatment plan for you.
Depending on the cause of your acne, your skin type, and your needs, our dermatologists will identify a treatment plan to restore a smooth, clear, and healthy complexion. More than one treatment may be recommended for you. Some of the treatments for adult acne include:
- Topical retinoids: This treatment clears out hair follicles to prevent clogging and reduce oil production.
- Topical antibiotics: This treatment reduces bacteria, redness, and inflammation.
- Sodium sulfacetamide: This treatment unclogs pores and kills bacteria.
- Benzoyl peroxide: This treatment dries out oily skin and kills bacteria.
- Hormonal therapy: Treatments such as spironolactone and oral contraceptives balance hormone levels and reduce oil production to prevent hormonal acne.
- Isotretinoin: This treatment renews the skin and reduces oil production to correct severe cystic acne. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant in the near future.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This treatment kills bacteria, cleanses the skin, and minimizes scars using a topical chemical and either Intense Pulsed Light or the Pulsed Dye Laser.
- Chemical peels: This treatment removes the outer layers of skin to reduce bacteria and other elements that contribute to acne.
We will also help you put together an at-home skin care regimen to protect your skin and prevent future breakouts. Establishing the perfect treatment plan for your skin care needs will help you eliminate adult acne, rejuvenate your skin, and produce a beautiful, clear complexion.