Statistically, women are twice as likely as men to suffer adult acne, implicating a hormonal component to this often frustrating condition. Sources also report that the prevalence of adult acne is on the rise, with the problem continuing past patients’ 40th year.
What Causes Adult Acne?
The answer to this question varies according to the individual; but hormones, certain cosmetics, and increasingly-resistant bacteria may all come into play. One thing that is not to blame is a “dirty face” – poor hygiene is almost never to blame for acne. In fact, lots of scrubbing and washing may irritate your skin more and worsen the acne.
Acne occurs when a pore becomes clogged with oil or skin cells – it’s not the result of dirt on your face getting into your pores. If the pore remains open, a blackhead forms. The black color comes from oxidation of the skin cells, not dirt from outside. Once the pore is clogged, it may become infected and form a red pimple.
Women may notice a flare-up in their acne right before their menstrual period, which shows the role that hormones play in acne. In fact, male hormones are said to be the cause of acne in both genders, but women’s hormonal levels change and fluctuate more than men’s.
Treatment Options for Adult Acne
As you work with your health care provider to find a treatment that’s right for you, these are some of the options you will probably discuss.
* Over-the-counter acne medications may help, especially those containing benzoyl peroxide.
* Sulphur is an effective topical treatment – it’s usually applied as a lotion or in a soap.
* Retinoid creams are said to be effective. It’s good to bear in mind that these creams usually take a month or two to show results.
* Hormone therapy works well for some adults. Usually, the birth control pill is the most easily obtainable means of hormonal control in women; some of whom have found remarkable improvements in their skin after starting “the pill.”
* Natural supplements are also an option for acne sufferers. Hormone-regulating herbs like Vitex may help, and taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may also be of benefit.
* Switching cosmetics may solve the problem, either because the old cosmetics harbored bacteria that was infecting the skin, or because of irritants in that particular brand.
* Diet may also play a role, although the “chocolate and pizza give you zits” philosophy is probably not valid. Still, eating a healthy diet is important to overall health, and that includes the skin.