Acne has always been associated with teenagers. However, acne can also appear in the years of adulthood. If you are in your 30s, 40s or more so in your 50s and recurring acne is putting you down constantly, then your age is just a number for acne! Various researches show that clogged pores due to dirt, pollution and bacteria, can mainly cause acne among adults. We understand adult acne can be stubborn and annoying as well. But don’t get disappointed, we’ve got you covered.
Thankfully there are a lot of over-the-counter products available that you can start right away. A research in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology strongly considers that including salicylic acid and niacinamide products in your skin care regimen can treat adult acne to a great extent.
What is adult acne?
Adults can get acne too. And this can happen to you for the very first time as well. This condition is known as “Adult-onset acne”. This can occur due to several reasons that can come from unhealthy lifestyle, emotional stress or most commonly from the pollution around.
Here are certain symptoms for adult acne
1. Papules- red and small bumps.
2. Whiteheads- due to closed pores
3. Blackheads- due to open pores
4. Pustules- generally, pimples with pus at tips
5. Nodules- large lumps causing pain, usually under the skin
6. Cystic Lesions- present under the skin as lumps filled with pus
Any of the above-mentioned symptoms can be seen as adult acne. You can examine your affected area in the mirror and understand the severity of your acne problem. Doing so, you can direct your treatment in the right direction.
How does adult acne look different from teenage acne?
The acne in teenagers typically appears in the T-zone- forehead, nose and chin. These are mainly cystic in nature. Whereas, adult acne surfaces mainly on jaws and on and around the chin area. The severity of acne in adults depends on the cause.
Why does acne persist in adulthood years?
A number of aspects can contribute to adult acne. You need to be mindful of the fact that in most of the cases, no single factor alone can be the culprit behind those painful zits and breakouts on your skin. Here are certain major reasons for adult acne.
1. Both hormones and genetics can be blamed for acne
Adult acne affects women the most. The reason behind this is the hormonal disturbances increase the sebum production leading to clogged pores and breakouts.
Also, if you have a family history of adult acne, then you’re likely to get it. So your genetic history can also be blamed for acne as well.
2. Mental and emotional stress can also cause adult acne
If you have an unbalanced work-life routine, your stress level may rise. And with such fluctuations in hormones causing stress, your skin can be prone to acne in adulthood.
An emotionally and mentally unhealthy mind can easily instigate acne on your skin. This is because, during stress, sebaceous glands tend to produce more oils causing acne breakouts. It can happen to both males and females. So, investigate your routine to make it healthier.
3. Watch out if dairy products are aggravating your acne
It is very commonly assumed that dairy products can induce breakouts and adult acne. Evidently, many researchers have considered that dairy products might trigger or aggravate your acne.
And if you feel consuming dairy products is actually pushing your acne, you can try cutting them off from your diet and observe.
4. Excessive or unbothered use of cosmetics or beauty products
If you use cosmetics or beauty products mindlessly, your skin will definitely show signs of acne which can go severe with time. Makeup products can attract dirt, oil, and bacteria clogging the pores causing acne.
Always keep track of the expiry dates of the products to avoid damage to your skin. Sometimes certain ingredients and products do not go well with your skin-type. That can also induce acne problems in adults.
5. Research says, a high glycemic index diet can trigger acne
Glycemic index indicates the relative amount of blood sugar rise after consuming a particular food item. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics contains a study that suggests a connection between high glycemic index diet and acne.
High glycemic foods are like
-processed foods like chips, cereal bars,
-sugary food items like cakes, sweets and cookies,
You may avoid such foods and replace them with low glycemic foods like
- green vegetables,
- and fruits like strawberries.
How to treat adult acne
Adults' acne requires special attention as they are deep rooted in skin and are more likely to cause acne scars. Here are some useful tips for you to treat adult acne.
1. Start with a good face cleanser, look for sebostatic and non - comedogenic properties
When you have acne, you are most likely to have clogged pores with either layers of makeup products or dirt and pollution and even too much oil from sebaceous glands. So, always go for non-comedogenic and sebostatic face cleansers which do not clog pores on your face by controlling oil.
- Citric acid with its antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties,
- And Zinc PCA with its antibacterial and sebostatic qualities
can effectively help you with acne. Oil Control & Anti Acne Face Wash which is perfectly equipped with active ingredients like citric acid and Zinc PCA can be a great pick to help you fight adult acne.
2. Don't skip moisturizers and use the one that is non greasy, lightweight and mattifying in properties
Heavy and greasy moisturisers on acne prone skin can aggravate acne, as the skin is already oily due to heavy sebum production. This also pushes you to clean your face again and again to get rid of excess from your face. So, using non greasy and lightweight moisturisers help to keep skin hydrated while minimizing extra oiliness and shine on the face.
Oil Free Moisturisers can be a great option for you if you have that oily shine on your face with acne and want to keep extra oil off from your face.
3. Opt for a sunscreen to avoid exacerbation of acne and eliminate the risk of post acne mark
If you are facing the sun everyday, your acne can get worse. Moreover, UV rays from the sun can definitely give you post acne marks, which can scar your confidence certainly. This is why you should never skip wearing sunscreen before stepping out in the sun.
So, choose the sunscreen that is
- Non comedogenic,
- Broad-spectrum and high SPF like 30 to 50.
- Try avoiding the ones which have oxybenzone as one of its ingredients.
Oxybenzone is present in most of the sunscreens which lets it penetrate the skin, causing breakouts and irritating already oily skin. You can go for Oxybenzone Free Sunscreens which is oily and acne-prone skin friendly imparting maximum protection to your sensitive skin.
4. Try topical solutions that has preferably Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, Antimicrobial peptides
If your acne is being too stubborn and you have tried every home remedy to treat them, you can choose to treat them with topical products with active ingredients like
- Salicylic acid,
- Antimicrobial peptides.
Niacinamide is typically known for its anti acne properties. Recent studies on Niacinamide in Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology by Pooja Bains and et al., states that for acne-prone skin, 3% of Niacinamide is the ideal concentration. It has sebostatic and anti-inflammatory properties that can calm acne and also help in removing post acne scars. Pitstop Blue Niacinamide Serum for Acne Scars & Marks from Re’equil contains the right amount of active ingredients like Niacinamide and Copper Tripeptide to treat acne as well as post acne marks.
Along with Niacinamide, Salicylic is a great ingredient for treating acne. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology’s study on over-the-counter products for acne recommends 1% salicylic acid with antimicrobial peptides in your skincare regimen as it naturally stimulates exfoliation and clear acne.
Medical procedures for acne
Apart from OTC products, there are medical procedures available to help you get rid of acne. Nonetheless, before opting for such procedures, you should consult an experienced dermatologist to avoid their side effects. These include
“Popping” or “squeezing” acne can be the natural instinct when you are frustrated with it. But if you do it yourself, you may invite more of it. So, having them extracted from a dermatologist is the safer option.
Though extraction can be an easy option to remove acne. However, it might rupture your blood vessels and damage your deeper layers of skin. This can cause scars on your face, worsening the condition.
2. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels mostly contain glycolic acid which are applied to the top layers of the skin to remove the already damaged layer. No wonder it can impart smoothness to your skin, but it does have its own share of side effects.
Post care in chemical peeling requires tender care with maximum protection from the sun. Your skin can have redness, swelling and might get fungal infections as well. So be careful before you choose to get this done.
3. Lasers and Light therapy
Lasers and light/phototherapy to help with acne and post acne scars is quite trending apart from topical products. In this, the stimulated laser targets deeper layers of the affected area of the skin. This can help in getting rid of acne-causing bacteria and controlled sebum production; reducing acne and scars.
Nevertheless, before getting cosmetic laser therapy, keep in mind that you might have to get a series of therapies and that one sitting might not be enough. Post session, you might experience redness, swelling and even tingling sensations on the targeted area.
General managing tips for adulthood acne
Adulthood acne can be hard to treat. With their onset, you begin to self loath yourself if not taken care properly. And most importantly, adult acne cannot simply disappear if you only depend upon the chemical treatments or ointments.
Here are some tips that you may follow to keep your acne at bay:
- Never sleep with your makeup on.
- Do not touch your face again and again.
- Use clean pillow covers.
- Drink more water.
- Always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
- Use a microfiber towel to dry your face after washing.
- Take a clean and green diet.
We know your acne can be harmful to your skin as well as your self-esteem. But do not panic. Always consult your dermatologist before opting for medical procedures for your acne. But before taking such major steps that includes not only your skin but also a lot of your money, it is always better to go for topical skin care products. They not only fit your budget but also cause nearly no harm to your skin.
Take good care of your skin and be patient with your skin care regimen.