Isn’t acne something only teenagers should have?
As you trudged through adolescence, you figured acne would exit as you entered adulthood. Now, it’s been a while since graduation, but those embarrassing pimples haven’t moved on. You keep thinking, “Maybe next year, I’ll age out of my acne.”
You’re not a kid anymore, so why should you have to deal with this? You shouldn’t — but you’re not the only one who is.
Many adults, particularly females, battle acne into adulthood. But, once you know what causes pimples in adults, you can find the best treatment to get the clear skin you’ve been waiting for.
Adult Acne Causes
The most common adult acne, female adult acne, is driven by hormones. Usually, pimples pop up because of a sensitivity to testosterone. It’s not that there’s an abnormal level of hormones, some skin types are just more sensitive to hormones, especially before the menstrual cycle. The skin gets oilier and more clogged than usual, resulting in pimples.
Other times, stress triggers acne. The older you get, the more stress you have. Balancing work, family, friends, and finances isn’t exactly easy.
Did you know? The more stressed you are, the more hormones your body produces. Enter testosterone — the hormone that produces oil and plugs up your glands.
If you’ve battled acne for a while, chances are you’ve tried every product on the shelves. But more product isn’t always better. And even though you’re trying to get rid of the oil that plugs up your pores, dry skin isn’t the goal.
If you’re new to acne, maybe you don’t know where to begin with acne-fighting products. Start by checking the products you use. Make sure your moisturizer and makeup are non-comedogenic. That just means they won’t clog your pores. And make sure you choose the best makeup products for oily skin.
4. Skin Type
Maybe you have acne because you’ve always had acne. Some of us just have skin that’s prone to breakouts. And if you’ve never had an aggressive treatment to get rid of it and reduce the amount of oil your skin produces, it’ll keep coming back.
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Maybe It’s NOT Acne
If you’ve tried to treat your acne but haven’t seen any improvement, you could be dealing with something else. Maybe you’ve even visited your doctor for acne treatment, only to be disappointed with the results. Both rosacea and folliculitis can be confused with acne — even by professionals.
The most common condition confused with acne is rosacea. It has a background of redness with inflammatory papules and pustules that look very similar to acne. It pops up on the forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and chest. We often have patients that come in for acne treatment, but when we see them, we realize they have rosacea. Sometimes, their primary care doctor has even treated them for acne, but it hasn’t gotten better. It was just rosacea masquerading as acne.
Folliculitis is a hair follicle infection. There are several types that look a lot like acne.
Ever noticed little bumps that seem to come from nowhere? Do they have a pustule on top of the hair follicle? This type of folliculitis is a type of yeast infection that happens after sweating or wearing tight clothing. The bumps pop up quickly and get worse in the heat of the summer.
Shaving is another cause of an acne-like folliculitis. Men, if you see bumps on the back of your neck after a haircut or on the front of your neck after shaving, you’re dealing with infected hair follicles, not acne. Bacteria can enter and clog the pores as you shave, resulting in these small, red bumps.
Adult Acne Treatment Options
Whether you’re dealing with acne at 25, 35, or 45, it’s time to see your dermatologist. At this point, it probably won’t go away on its own. But a professional can help you identify what’s causing your acne (or rosacea or folliculitis) and find the best treatment for you.
If you're considering acne treatment, check out these before-and-after pictures of Acne Treatment at Dermatology Alliance.