This guest article is produced for general knowledge only.
Consult your doctor before taking any medication.
The moment you hit puberty, one of the first things that start to trouble you is acne – what starts off as pimples during your teenage years, can often turn into a more serious problem in the later years. There are several reasons why acne does not go away with the teenage years, and while the problem is serious, there are ways to tackle it too. Studies have shown that adult acne is not only more painful but also harder to get rid of, which is why you need to understand what is causing it first and then try to figure out how to treat adult acne by getting rid of them.
Getting into the Root of Adult Acne:
The first step to treating adult acne is to understand what causes it – a pimple is formed when oil and dead skin cells block the pores of your skin, creating a ground for bacteria to grow and flourish. The next step is to understand what could be causing the acne – in most cases, it is a hormonal change in the body that could be causing it. Many women will notice that acne tends to pop up for them when their menstrual cycle is just around the corner. However, dietary imbalance, stress and pollution can also contribute to the problem. As a matter of fact, if you are getting acne even in your adult years, it is an indication that something is wrong; either in your body or the way you are taking care of it.
“Start by taking stock of what you are eating”
If you are not eating a balanced diet, you are asking for trouble. But don’t think that your acne is popping up, just because you are eating too many chocolates or too much of junk food. Anything in moderation is fine, but if you are eating chocolates, processed foods and other such things which could be labeled as junk, you also need to make sure that you have an equal or greater amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your regular diet. You need to make sure that you do not have an excessive amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet, because these could lead to acne.
Similarly, you also need to cut down on your dairy consumption too – a study conducted at Harvard in the mid-2000s showed that people who drink more milk, were more prone to acne. Recent studies have shown that the so-called fat-free milk has higher sugar content and this can lead to acne. Salt also plays an important role in the propagation of pimples, which is why you need to cut back on your salt intake. Sodium, as well as the iodine that is present in table salt and even in certain seafood, could lead to breakouts.
“Your skin care routine can also tell you where you might be going wrong”
For instance, if you are washing your face only once in a day, you are allowing dirt and grime to accumulate on your skin. there are many people who would say that they rarely step out of their home or office, restricting their interface with dust or pollution; but the fact of the matter is that there are dirt particles all around us and if there is oil on our skin, we are inviting trouble. You need to ensure that you keep your face clean and your hands away from it, as much as possible.
Invest in a good gentle facewash, which you can use two times in a day with your face brush. You could also pick up a bottle of tea tree oil (or products that contain tea tree oil), which is considered really good for the skin, especially to fight acne. If possible, invest in a blue light therapy tool, such as a light therapy mask or blue light pen. Blue light is known to penetrate deep into the skin and kill the bacteria that cause acne.
And then, of course, there are several medicines that you can buy, many of them over the counter, and some of these are the best skin treatment for acne. If you have an occasional pimple or what doctors would refer to as mild to moderate acne, here are some medications that you can consider:
- Salicylic acid – One of the best medications for acne, this is an ingredient, which you will find easily in almost all good skin care products. This is a beta-hydroxy acid, which helps dissolve away the excess oil and even exfoliate the dead skin cells. Choose a toner or leave-on treatment with salicylic acid, because as opposed to a facewash, this will remain on your skin longer, giving it more time to work.
- Benzoyl peroxide – This is yet another popular medication for acne and is available easily at pharmacies. The anti-bacterial ingredient is often found in skin care products such as face washes, cleansing toners and leave-in treatments. However, you do need to remember that this ingredient can leave your skin really dry, which is why you need to use it sparingly and use a good moisturizer.
- Glycolic acid – This is an alpha hydroxy acid, which is known to exfoliate the skin and remove all the dead skin cells, allowing the pores to remain open and clean. Yet again, this is a common ingredient in acne fighting facewashes and serums.
- Retinol – Even though retinol might be popular for its anti-aging properties, the matter of fact is that it works really well for acne too. Retinoids, not only decrease the production of oil in the skin, it also helps the skin cells rejuvenate and replenish faster.
In case your acne is of a more severe nature, then your dermatologist might prescribe you one of the following:
- Aczone – Aczone 7.5% has dapsone as the active ingredient, which is known to both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Not only does this work well with acne, it can help you with blackheads and whiteheads too.
- Azelaic acid – Talk to your dermatologist and they could suggest that you use azelaic acid, which can help clear acne and rosacea. A cleansing foam with this acid in it should be the easiest way to use it.
- Birth control pills – As odd as it might sound, but birth control pills can actually help with acne, especially if you have noticed that your acne flares up around your periods. Birth control pills have estrogen and progestin, both of which help maintain the hormonal balance in the body.
- Spironolactone – An androgen blocker, Spironolactone helps reduce the androgen hormones, which is considered to be one of the causes of acne. However, studies have shown that these show the best results when taken in tandem with birth control pills.
- Cortisone – The quickest and most effective way to get rid of acne is a corticosteroid or cortisone shot, which will take care of your acne within hours. This is one of the best options when you have an important occasion coming up or are troubled by cystic breakouts.
It’s important to understand the root cause of adult acne and then choose the most appropriate method to handle it. Again, consult your doctor first before starting any kind of medication.
Dr. Kapil Dua, Co-Founder & Chairman at AK Clinics has over fourteen years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Otolaryngology & Hair Transplant. As the Chief Hair Transplant Surgeon at AK Clinics, he has performed 1500+ successful surgeries. Find him on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter.
Sifa’s Corner on,