Understanding and Conquering Adult Acne

Your birth certificate, daily responsibilities, and physical capabilities all point towards full-blown adulthood.  You aren’t a kid anymore, but someone forgot to tell your skin.  You thought that surely you’d be past the eruption of pimples across your face, chest, or back when you left adolescence behind, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.  Teenager or not, acne can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem, especially when the reasons behind it can vary so widely.

Here, we will explore some of the most common causes behind adult acne, along with treatment solutions that may prove effective.  Of course, each case and individual is unique, and how treatment is approached is best decided upon after consulting with a board-certified dermatologist.

Hormones – Most people think of the raging hormones that are so notoriously responsible for teen acne.  Few realize that hormonal changes in adults can contribute to acne as well, particularly among women.  Hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.  They may also be affected when coming off of contraceptives such as the pill.  Additionally, overproduction of androgens whether from stress or a medical condition may also lead to breakouts. 

Medications – If you are taking medications such as anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, or progestin-only birth control pills, you may notice an increase in acne.  While these medications do not lead to acne in all patients, it is a potential side effect.  These skin problems may be bothersome, but it is important to first consult your physician before attempting to discontinue or switch any of your prescribed medications.

Medical Conditions – In some cases, medical conditions such as problems within the adrenal system or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may be the source behind your erupting skin.  PCOS, in particular, is a hormone disorder that can result in a number of bothersome side effects for women.  These may include irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation, thinning hair, weight gain, and of course, acne.

Cosmetics – Your favorite lotion or makeup may not be doing your skin any favors.  The products you select should always take your skin type (oily, dry, combination) into account, and it’s important to look for those labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil free” which will not clog pores.

Treatment – There are a few potential treatment options for adult acne which may prove helpful.  Commonly relied upon methods include the use of topical retinoids, antibiotics, isotretinoin, or hormonal agents (birth control pills).  Your dermatologist can guide you through each of these options and which may be best suited to treating your particular form of acne.  Additionally, he or she may recommend a specialized cleansing and skincare routine, designed to discourage the buildup of oil and bacteria that may be responsible for your breakouts. 

For patients in the Baton Rouge or Lafayette areas, call Dermasurgery Center to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists.  Together, we can develop a plan to treat your adult acne and leave you feeling confident in your skin once again.