Skin Care Advice From the Experts: Acne

What causes adult acne?

Breakouts and blemishes can result from hormone imbalances commonly experienced during PMS.  Pregnancy, menopause and peri-menopause, certain medications such as corticosteroids, and comedogenic (pore-clogging) cosmetics can also be the culprits.  Even moderate stress can trigger the production of cortisol, the body’s major stress hormone, which works on the testosterone pathway to stimulate acne.

How does adult acne differ from teen acne?

Adult breakouts differ from the oily breakouts commonly seen in teens.  Adult acne typically appears on the jawline as opposed to the T-zone or central face.  Furthermore, adult skin tends to be far dryer than that of teens, therefore requiring different treatment methods.

How is adult acne treated?

Most commercially available acne remedies are designed for teens and cause excessive dryness in adult skin.  As we age our skin becomes thinner and more easily irritated, so it’s important to use a gentle cleansing system such as the Skin Medica Acne System as part of your daily skin care routine.  For best results, use a gentle cleanser and warm (not hot) water on the soft face brush of a Clarisonic Smart Profile both morning and night.  Always avoid using abrasive scrubs and rough washcloths to clean your face. Retinols will help to slough off dead skin cells, while antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E enhance cell turnover.  Products with glycolic acids and salicylic acids help to treat acne by exfoliating and speeding up the regeneration process.  A monthly Purifying Facial by a certified esthetician to clean out pores can be a nice addition. 

Can adult acne be prevented?

Sadly there’s no true cure for adult acne.  While it may seem obvious, the best way to minimize breakouts is to make lifestyle changes and follow your daily skin care routine.  Reducing stress, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep are the best ways to avoid adult acne.

Is there treatment for acne scaring?

Yes.  Topical creams like Skin Medica Scar Recovery Gel can diminish the appearance of red or pink scars.  For new scars, products with the acids or antioxidants mentioned above can help to diminish discoloration by enhancing cell turnover.  Another option for scar treatment is laser skin resurfacing using a fractionated laser technology known as ProFractional to even out the skin’s surface and stimulate the production of collagen, the protein that serves as the building block of our skin.  The HALO hybrid fractional laser has also proven to reduce the appearance of scars over time. Following these procedures, collagen slowly begins to fill in acne scars.  Sun exposure can darken and slow the healing process, so always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ before heading outdoors.  We recommend the noncomedogenic and paraben-free EltaMD Sun Care line. 

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.