Adult Acne Solutions
Adolescence is made much more difficult for approximately 85 percent of teenagers because of acne. Chronic acne causes depression and social anxiety, which can lead to problems in school performance and peer relationships. A common misconception about teenage acne is that teenagers outgrow it by adulthood, resulting in many parents and teens waiting to seek treatment in the hopes that the acne will eventually disappear. Some teens do outgrow acne with no permanent scarring, but many suffer into adulthood. Others outgrow the breakouts just to have acne return during pregnancy or times of increased stress. Adult acne is treatable just like adolescent acne, whether it's sporadic breakouts or chronic acne carried over from adolescence.
A staggering number of adults suffer from acne breakouts. According to Acne.org, approximately 25 percent of adult men and 50 percent of adult women suffer from acne at some time during adulthood. The increased stress of adulthood and fluctuating hormones associated with pregnancy or menstruation may contribute to adult acne. Adult acne potentially causes social anxiety and depression just like teenage acne. Prompt treatment to get adult acne under control before emotional and physical scarring happens is ideal.
Hormones play a large role in acne breakouts. Stress or hormonal fluctuations increase the production of androgen hormones in the body. The increased hormones cause the skin to produce excess sebum, or oil, which begins a chain reaction that results in blemishes. Doctors sometimes recommend birth control pills for adult women with acne. Birth control pills help reduce and control the hormonal fluctuations that contribute to acne. Women with mild acne may find this method effective, but moderate to severe acne often requires additional treatment.
Over The Counter
Even mild acne benefits from a visit to the dermatologist. However, many adults choose to attempt self-treatment of acne before seeking medical help due to cost or time issues. Milder cases of acne often respond well to over-the-counter (OTC) treatments like benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in many acne cleansers and lotions. Concentrations vary from about 2.5 percent up to 10 percent. Benzoyl peroxide reduces excess oil and bacteria which reduces blackheads as well as pimples. Over-drying of the skin may occur with treatment, but this often subsides as the skin adjusts to the medication.
Many prescription treatments that dermatologists prescribe for adolescent acne can also treat adult acne. Vitamin A derivatives called topical retinoids effectively treat many cases of moderate to moderately-severe acne. These creams hold the added benefit of reducing fine lines and wrinkles which makes them particularly desirable for adults. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's AcneNet, retinoids improve skin by slowly unclogging pores and preventing further clogs. Side effects include sun sensitivity, skin dryness, redness and irritation, which typically subside as treatment progresses.
Moderately-severe or severe acne may require treatment with oral medications. Oral antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline fight skin bacteria to reduce breakouts and inflammation. During antibiotic treatment, skin improves slowly over about six months of treatment. An oral retinoid, called isotretinoin, is considered the most effective acne treatment available. Isotretinoin reduces excess oil, fights bacteria, unclogs pores and reduces inflammation in cases of severe acne. One four to six month course of treatment is often enough to eliminate acne almost entirely without additional treatment. Isotretinoin comes with significant risks including depression, headache, dry mucous membranes, skin dryness and severe birth defects in babies born to women who become pregnant while taking the medication.
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