Acne & Aging
Acne is a condition that tends to be associated with puberty. For many people, embarrassing pimples and skin redness fade into memory as they become adults. Other people are not so lucky. Acne often persists into adulthood, or even crops up unexpectedly during middle age. It is impossible to determine who will be struck with acne, but dermatologists are discovering medications that can control the onset of acne as you age.
Acne that develops with age can come in varying degrees. Some people will experience more stubborn, severe acne that covers the face and body. The American Academy of Dermatology has an online information resource, AcneNet, which states that men are more likely to experience acne on their bodies than women. People who did not experience acne during puberty may still find themselves with acne as they grow older. Other people will have chronic acne, which continues from puberty to adulthood.
Prevention and Solutions
Women with adult acne might have a remedy at their disposal. According to the AAD, certain hormonal therapies can reduce the presence of acne in women over 20. Both combination oral contraceptives and anti-androgen medications work to fight acne by lowering the activity of testosterone in the body. Women must discuss their situations with a doctor before taking any medications, as some will not be suitable for all women, and some types may actually worsen acne.
The website Herborium suggests that men always take a shower after exercise. Although acne is not caused by dirt, showering will wash away excess oils produced from a workout, reducing the likelihood of body acne. Alternatively, men may also benefit from anti-androgen medications.
As teenagers, boys are more likely than girls to be afflicted with acne. As we age, however, women become more susceptible. The AAD states that 50 percent of women between 20 and 29 and 25 percent of women between 40 and 49 experience acne. In contrast, Herborium states that 25 percent of adult males experience acne.
During a November 2009 speech at the AAD's SKIN academy, dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman named hormones and cosmetics as the primary causes of acne in aging women. When the female body produces more androgens, a male hormone, it may cause an outbreak of acne. Certain medications and the use of noncomedogenic cosmetics may reduce these outbreaks.
Androgens cause acne in males as well. Herborium cites stressful workouts as a common cause of body acne on adult males. Intense exercise sessions can lead to an increase in testosterone production, which contributes to clogged pores. Men who use steroids are also at a higher risk for acne, as these drugs increase androgen production in the body.
Rosacea is a skin condition that is often confused with adult acne. People over 50 are more prone to rosacea, which causes redness and swelling on the face. According to Dr. Jaliman, rosacea is three times more likely to affect women. Symptoms of rosacea may even include small bumps or pimples. The National Rosacea Society's website explains that rosacea should not be mistaken for adult acne, as standard acne treatments will often aggravate rosacea.
Unfortunately, acne and some acne treatments speed up the aging process of the skin. The website Smart Skin Care states that acne puts skin in a chronically inflamed condition, and inflammation leads to aging. Use acne treatments that dry the skin, such as benzoyl peroxide, with care. These treatments can cause dry or irritated skin, which affects the skin's ability to renew itself. Long-term use of such drying products can be effective for reducing acne, but damaging to skin. In this case, Smart Skin Care recommends using a product with a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide, around 2.5 percent.
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