I’m Not a Teenager. How Am I Still Getting Acne?
When it comes to skincare, there are few things more frustrating than dealing with persistent adult acne. You might be confused, as well, if you can’t seem to find the root cause or an effective treatment for this common issue. Read on to find out more about some common causes of adult acne and treatments that could help.
What to Know About Adult Acne
What Is Acne?
Acne has affected almost everyone at some point, most often in adolescent years when hormones are changing, increasing, and fluctuating. Even one pimple is technically considered acne, but often the condition shows up in the form of breakouts or clusters of pimples together. These breakouts can be anywhere on the body — the face, chest, back, and more.
Acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands and clogged pores. When the sebaceous glands — which produce sebum, the skin’s naturally lubricating and necessary oil — produce an excess of substance, they can cause pimples in the pores. Sebum combines with dead skin cells, sweat, and even bacteria in the pore, causing redness and inflammation. The pore might also develop pus in the form of a whitehead. If the pore is open at the top and exposed to air, it may become oxidized and turn black in appearance — also known as a blackhead.
All of these different types of pimples fall under the umbrella of acne. Eventually, breakouts and deep pimples can cause acne scarring and pockmarks.
What Causes Adult Acne?
It’s not always easy to find the root cause of the overactive sebaceous glands in the first place, although this is often the first step to finding an effective treatment. Stress is a huge culprit, including mental, emotional, physical, or financial stress. Stress-inducing events can include work, family, relational issues, climate or environment changes, exposure to harmful chemicals, bouts of sickness, and lack of sleep.
Another common cause of adult acne is changing hormones. Contrary to what we might wish, hormones don’t stop fluctuating in the teenage years but rather continue to change throughout adulthood. Pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles can dramatically affect hormone levels in women particularly. These changes, just like physical or emotional stress, cause the sebaceous glands to overproduce oil, and acne ensures when pores get clogged.
Diet is not a cause of acne, but greasy foods can be transferred onto the skin from the fingers, leaving oil that irritates the pores. Additionally, some chemicals in beauty products can clog pores and combine with sebum to produce unwanted breakouts.
If you want to effectively treat acne, start by getting a solid skincare regimen in place. Find a cleanser suited to your skin — ideally without harsh ingredients. Steer clear of anything that doesn’t have the “non-comedogenic” label. Comedogenic products are pore-clogging. If you already struggle with acne, try a skincare line formulated for acne-prone skin. This might include benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid.
It’s also highly recommended to receive regular dermatologist microdermabrasion treatments. This exfoliation technique sloughs off the top layer of dead skin — which is often where dirt, oil, bacteria, and skin cells collect to clog pores and when combined with sebum, cause pimples. You can receive these treatments as a standalone service or added onto a facial. Just be sure not to use any harsh microdermabrasion tools on your own. Always work with a board-certified specialist.
One proven way to reduce acne scars and even prevent future breakouts is through a chemical peel. Similar to exfoliation and microdermabrasion, this treatment removes the topmost layer of skin, revealing the fresh skin underneath. Over time and through multiple treatments, it can drastically reduce acne scars and keep breakouts at bay.
Contact The Dermatology Group
If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and concerned about your adult acne, contact The Dermatology Group today for a consultation. Our team of board-certified specialists can help provide you with advice and perform any necessary treatments.