I have been getting quite a few questions about acne past the teeneage years. Its not really surprising since up to 50% of women over 25 have acne problems. And while its not an anti-aging issue, the whole point of getting rid of age spots and wrinkles is to look better– and getting rid of breakouts certainly falls under that category.
Question 1: I am 45. Can I use my daughter’s acne soaps and gels to control my breakouts?
Probably not. During the teenage years bacteria in the pores are a major driver of breakouts. In moms, not so much. Benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient found in many acne cleansers and treatments products, works by attacking these bacteria, and is a go-to ingredient in many acne products aimed at teenagers. When you’re in the fabulous forties, bacteria play a much smaller role and Benzoyl Peroxide is much less effective. For mom acne, a better choice would be products with salicylic acid. This is a beta hydroxy acid that acts by helping empty clogged pores. No clogged pores= no pimples. Neutrogena makes a full line of acne products with salicylic acid. Make sure the treatment product you use has at least 2% salicylic acid to get a real benefit.
Question 2: What is hormonal acne?
In truth hormone levels can promote acne at any age, but in some women, higher levels of androgen, a male hormone, can be causing hard to treat acne. If you have tried all the usual remedies of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid peels, LED light, diet and even Retin A and acne still is a problem, you may well have hormonal acne. Best treatment is with a series of birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin. This combo works by cutting down the androgen levels. Two well known brands are Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yaz. I had this type of acne and had tried everything. Finally my Dad who was a science writer found a doctor who specialized in this problem. The hormone combo he prescribed changed my life — and I think that using medical research to deal with acne sparked my interest in the science behind beauty care .