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5 Things You Need to Know About Adult Acne

5 Things You Need to Know About Adult Acne 5 Things You Need to Know About Adult Acne

1. Acne is Not Just for Teens

You cleaned out your high school locker 20 years ago, yet you still have bright red acne pimples on your jaw when you look in the mirror. You are not alone. About one in every five women over the age of 25 has acne. Adult acne, in contrast to the teenage type, occurs more frequently in women. For some, this is the first time they have ever had acne; we call this late-onset acne. It often occurs around pregnancy or menopause or other times when there are hormonal fluctuations. For other women, their acne has never cleared; it has continued from their teens right into adulthood. We call this persistent acne.

2. Hormones Can Sometimes Be a Trigger

We like to blame most everything on hormones. In the case of acne, hormones often contribute to developing acne, but they are not the only factor. Stopping birth-control pills causes a change in hormone levels, and is frequently the impetus for developing acne in adult women. Similarly, using progestin-only birth-control pills can also affect hormones in such a way as to cause a breakout. Pregnancy is a time of dramatic hormone fluctuations, and for some women, dramatic acne. Similarly, menopause can trigger outbreaks in women who never had acne before. Despite these known hormonal triggers, most women who have acne do not have hormonal imbalances. Foods or supplements that claim to "balance" hormones to reduce acne are unlikely to have any effect.

3. Don't Try to Scrub Your Acne Away

Acne in adults develops in the same fashion as it does in teens. Sticky skin cells block the pores, leading to a buildup of bacteria and inflammation that creates a red bump. Acne is not caused by dirt or grime and cannot be scrubbed away. Exfoliating the skin to open pores can help, but only when done in moderation. Harsh scrubs or repeated microdermabrasion will only irritate the skin and make acne worse. Try chemical exfoliators like salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which are found in many women's cosmetics, as well as in acne treatments.

4. Diet and Acne

You do not have to give up eating Scharffen Berger chocolates.

The story of diet and acne only gets more interesting over time. Although myths of chocolate and pizza causing acne have been disproved, it is probably true that consuming cow's milk (which contains hormones) as well as eating a diet high in carbohydrates (which can cause inflammation) can contribute to acne.

5. Your Products Might Be the Problem

Sometimes, the cause of your acne is something you can control--your products. Many products contain ingredients that can clog your pores, triggering an outbreak of acne. Pantene shampoo and many hair conditioners have been known to cause this problem. In addition, sunscreens--which are important in reducing your wrinkle-causing, skin-cancer-inducing ultraviolet-light exposure--are also notorious for causing acne. If you notice that your acne is worse around your hairline or that it has been flaring up since you started wearing sunscreen, try changing your products; it might be all you need to clear up your acne.

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