Adult acne, causing those blackheads, blemishes and breakouts to suddenly appear in adulthood, seems to be in the news quite a lot lately.
It has been put in the spotlight by famous celebrities such as Cameron Diaz whose problems with acne span many years.
However, it is very interesting to note that she mentions two things in conjunction with an improvement in her skin, using a really good sunscreen (she reportedly uses a powder, rather than a cream or lotion), plus – even more interestingly, she quit smoking! Cameron is quoted as saying:-
“the further away I get from smoking, the better my skin gets”
American Academy of Dermatology Report
So, thinking that acne is something that only affects teenagers whilst their hormones are in ‘overdrive’ is a mistaken belief. The 70th Annual General Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held in San Diego in March of this year contained a presentation by Bethanee Jean Schlosser who works at Feinberg School of Medicine, North Western University, where she is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology and also, Director of Women’s Skin Health.
Her study provides a fascinating insight into the unhappy truth that adult acne is becoming more common and that even women in their forties and fifties are finding that they are developing this skin condition, sometimes for the first time in their lives.
The report states:-
“A 2011 clinical study examining photos of women from age 10-70 for visible signs of acne found that 45 percent of women aged 21-30 had clinical acne, 26 percent of women aged 31-40 had clinical acne, and 12 percent of women aged 41-50 had clinical acne.”
You can read the full report here https://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/hormonal-factors-key-to-understanding-acne-in-women
Professor Schlosser goes on to say that whilst there is no single treatment that works for everyone, hormonal treatments can be used to treat this condition very effectively for women.
Blackheads Could Be Your Early Warning Sign
Blackheads can be read as a sort of ‘early warning sign’of an acne breakout. Adult acne can be caused by many different things but certainly, the most common are hormonal problems causing excessive sebum (oil) to be produced, stress (which perhaps explains why this skin problem is becoming even more common in adults with our hectic lifestyles and stressful jobs). In addition some prescription medications can cause it, as can using the wrong type of make up products (make sure you always look for non comedogenic products which wil not clog your pores).
It is bewildering for many women to find that just as they are finding that they want to start using anti aging skincare products to ward off those fine lines and wrinkles that are starting to appear, they suddenly are getting blackheads and pimples. So, at this time, it is a good idea to review your skin care routine and check the labelling of all the products you are using on your skin. Look for products that will not block your pores and which do not contain oil.
(Product illustrated is Dermalogica Dermalogica MediBac Clearing Adult Acne Treatment Kit available from Amazon.)
Some products for treating acne are designed specifically for treating teenage skin and these can be too harsh for more mature, drier skin. For this reason, older women are advised to try treatment products specifically designed for their skin type and to use products containing lower percentages of active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. The reason for this is that higher concentrations can lead to excessive drying on more mature complexions and this can be counter-productive as the user tends to discontinue the medication because of this problem and so the acne is not effectively treated or kept under control.
In this older age-group of acne sufferers, alternative treatments using light therapy are becoming increasingly popular as these are very effective without the need for using harsh chemicals on the skin. Another reason for their popularity is that home use treatment machines are now widely available and provide a much more cost-effective solution to the problem than going for specialist dermatologist treatments.