Aging Skin & Acne
Many people think of acne as a teenage skin condition, and with good cause: the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that up to 85 percent of American teens will have some pimples each year. But adults suffer from acne too, and often have a tougher time with the condition than teenagers. Adult acne can be stubborn to treat, and aging skin has less resiliency to recover from a bad case of pimples. However, your dermatologist has tools to help you get rid of acne and also improve your complexion.
Hormones probably help to cause adult acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, hormones aren't the sole reason pimples appear in someone beyond the teen years. Women commonly get acne right before their periods or while they're pregnant. Women also can develop a relatively common health condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes acne and many other symptoms. Women and men can get pimples if their immunity is lowered due to an underlying health problem such as type 2 diabetes. In all these cases, however, acne sufferers with aging skin should treat their pimples or potentially risk scarring.
Relatively mild acne often responds to over-the-counter products, and some of these products also contain ingredients that can help to make the skin younger looking, according to the AAD. Products containing retinols, which are versions of vitamin A, can help to treat small bumps and blackheads while encouraging new skin cells to replace older cells. Acne-fighting cosmetics containing salicylic acid, which can help to kill acne-causing bacteria, also can make you look younger. The AAD advises looking for cosmetic formulas designed for women because they tend to be less drying and irritating than those formulated for teenagers.
If over-the-counter products don't help your aging skin and acne, your next step likely should be a consultation with your dermatologist. According to the AAD, dermatologists offer prescription medications that often work better than over-the-counter products. For example, your dermatologist can prescribe tretinoin, a powerful retinoid known best by the brand name Retin-A. Tretinoin can clear your pores and prevent new lesions from forming, while also encouraging rapid turnover of your skin cells, leading to fresh, clear skin.
Some procedures used to treat pimples also can improve the appearance of aging skin, according to the AAD. Laser treatments can help to clear pimples by decreasing skin oil production and killing bacteria. Laser therapy also can erase tiny wrinkles and make bigger ones less obvious by encouraging collagen to grow under the skin. Chemical peels can give your skin a fresh, younger look while also clearing out pore blockages.
Adult acne often resists efforts at treatment, and bad adult acne can leave scars that look worse as your skin ages. Therefore, it's wise to seek prompt medical help if you have a case of adult acne that fails to respond to your efforts at treating it with over-the-counter products. Fortunately, many of the medications and procedures that clear acne also make your aging skin look younger in the process.
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