The surge of hormones that triggers puberty also triggers acne. But once your hormones settle, your skin often does, too. But that’s not always the case.
Many adults still have acne outbreaks. That often includes women in their perimenopause years, along with plenty of men. In fact, no matter what your age or sex, you might find yourself with an unwanted acne lesion somewhere on your face or body.
Paul Yamauchi MD, PhD, diagnoses and treats acne for all ages at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, California. Below he’s outlined some of the most effective treatments for adult acne.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of “maskne,” a type of acne mechanica, have skyrocketed. Even though maskne hasn’t (yet) altered the prevalence or incidence of adult acne officially, the media has widely covered its advent and spread.
Acne is a multifactorial disease, which means that many factors contribute to its development. Two of the factors involved in acne mechanica are moisture and friction.
Whether you’ve developed acne on your lower face because of mask wearing or on your forehead, shoulders, or backs because of sports equipment, the remedy is the same. First, be sure to wash your mask or equipment every time you use it.
Next, eliminate friction by lining the equipment with soft padding or wearing moisture-wicking clothing. Choose masks made of breathable fabric, such as silk, which also has antimicrobial properties. You can reduce friction from the mask or equipment by wearing a noncomedogenic, oil-free moisturizer.
If you have mild acne or acne mechanica, in addition to properly cleaning and airing your skin, you could benefit from topical treatments. Choices include:
We might also recommend topical antibiotics that kill the bacteria that worsen acne. Active ingredients include:
You may benefit from skincare treatments such as chemical peels that remove dead skin cells and feed the bacteria on your skin and also clog your pores.
For moderate cases of inflammatory acne, oral antibiotics can kill the bacteria that live in your pores and contribute to acne development. We may prescribe minocycline or doxycycline.
Women whose acne is caused or worsened by hormonal imbalances could benefit from oral contraceptives. If you wish to become pregnant, you can undergo just a short course of contraceptives to control your acne.
Severe acne may be controlled by a medication called Accutane®. However, Accutane is best for males or for women who are in menopause. If you’re a woman in your reproductive years, you can only take Accutane for only short periods, use birth control, and undergo monthly blood testing to reduce the risk of fetal complications.
No matter the severity of your acne, you could benefit from light therapies that reduce inflammation. Although lasers and other forms of light therapy can’t treat blackheads or whiteheads, they can reduce the swelling and redness in pimples, pustules, and cysts.
We offer both blue-light treatments and pulsed dye laser therapy for acne. An added benefit of laser therapy is that the energy from the laser triggers a healing process in the skin that produces new collagen and elastin, making the skin healthier and stronger. If you’re also battling aging skin problems, such as wrinkles and brown spots, lasers help them, too.
Lasers and blue-light therapy usually require a series of treatments to improve the quality of your skin and resolve lesions. We may recommend light therapy in conjunction with topical or oral therapies.
Find out how to control and resolve your adult acne and improve the look and feel of your skin today. Call the friendly staff at our Santa Monica, California, office or send us an online message.