Acne after Age of 25 / Adult onset Acne

Are you above 25 and still have Ugly Acne Eruptions on face? Do they often pop up on your face and leave ugly scars, pits and pigmentations? Are you still trying to treat them with anti-acne creams, used for teenage acne?

Dr. Rajeev, Senior Consultant Skin Specialist and Cosmetic Acupuncturist from Raj Skin Clinic New Delhi, will discuss cause and treatment of Adult onset Acne.

Acne eruption mostly occur during adolescence, but it can persist into adulthood also. Acne occurring beyond the age of 25 are categorised as Adult onset acne. The management of adult onset acne may be way different from that of teenage acne.

Causes of adult acne:

There are various causes of adult onset acne.

  1. Fluctuation of Hormones:

No 1. Cause of adult onset acne is fluctuation of hormones in women which may occur around the menstrual period, during pregnancy, menopause or after stopping birth control pills. An excess of male hormone called testosterone may cause Cystic Acne on face, chin, neck and back. PCOD and other hormonal imbalances are also commonly associated with adult onset acne.

  1. Stress:

2nd most important cause of adult onset acne is stress. To cope with stress, our body produce stress hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is a potent stimulator of oil glands and is notorious for causing acne.

  1. Skin & Hair Cosmetics:

The 3rd most important cause of acne is Skin & Hair cosmetics: your regular cosmetics may block the pores and cause acne eruption. You should always use oil free, gel-based cosmetic products to avoid clogging of pores.  Before purchasing a cosmetic always look on the container for the label “Non-comedogenic” or “Oil-Free” which mean that it will not clog the pores.

  1. Refined Sugar:

4th cause of acne may be excess of refined sugar in diet. Refined sugar may shoot the insulin level in blood which in turn may stimulate oil glands and acne eruptions. If your skin is acne prone you should avoid foods with high glycemic index and stick to complex carbohydrates, like whole grain. They digest slowly and do not cause insulin spike.

  1. Medications:

And finally, certain medications may also cause acne like eruptions on face, neck and body. They include corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, anabolic steroids and drugs for tuberculosis. If you feel your medicines are causing acne, you can talk to your doctor to replace the medicine. If it’s not possible to replace the medicine, you may visit your dermatologist who can help you control the acne.

Types of adult onset acne:

Early stage of adult onset acne is Grade-1 acne which present as comedones, Black heads and White heads. Grade 2 to 4 are inflammatory acne and present as papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

How to treat Adult onset Acne

  1. Grade 1 acne i.e. comedones, black heads and white heads should be treated in early stage otherwise they will progress to inflamed papules, pustules and cysts. Comedones are plugs of sebum and dead cells that block the pores. Products containing salicylic acid help dissolve the sebum and dead cells. Proper cleansing and exfoliation remove the plugs and help control the acne at early stage. But be careful and do not wash the face repeatedly as it will make the skin dry. Dryness and irritation may worsen your acne. So, it’s recommended to wash the face only two times a day. Once morning and once in the evening. Also use a good oil free moisturiser to hydrate the skin.
  2. Grade 2 to 4 acne present as papule, pustule, cyst and nodule. They are Severe Inflammatory forms of Acne and if left Untreated they may leave Ugly Scars and Pigmentation. These acnes should be treated under the supervision of an expert skin specialist.

Challenges of Acne treatment in Adult woman:

Treatment of acne in an adult woman is specifically challenging, as their family & social responsibilities and personal preferences are much different from that of a school going adolescent girl. An adult woman must be presentable at work, during social gathering and family functions. Acne on adult face are socially awkward and It’s not advisable to apply heavy make up on acne prone skin. An adult woman’s personal preferences also include pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. All these events limit the use of prescription medicines. The ugly acne and their marks are more embarrassing on adult woman than that on an adolescent girl.

Considering all these factors the treatment of adult onset acne in women not only include medicines for acne and pustules but also the treatment of underlying hormonal and metabolic imbalances. It may also require additional blood investigation to assess hormonal profile and ultrasonography to assess the condition of ovaries and uterus. Lifestyle modifications, healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy sleep & stress-free healthy mind are also key to the treatment.

Role of Acupuncture in Acne Treatment:

Apart from conventional medicines cosmetic acupuncture has been proven to be very effective in treating acne eruptions as well as underlying hormonal and metabolic imbalances. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in releasing stress, relaxing mind, improving sleep, regulating menstrual cycle, relieving menstrual cramps and other symptoms of PCOD. Acupuncture even helps in the treatment of infertility.

So, friends; sleep well, eat lots of fresh fruits and green vegetables, stay happy and consult your dermatologist for adequate treatment of adult onset acne.

Thank you.



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