Universal Beauty Questions: Adult Acne

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 .

One thought on “Universal Beauty Questions: Adult Acne

  1. That’s a very good point that treatments that work for teenage acne may not be appropriate for mature skin, especially as it is often drier and more sensitive than teenage skin is.

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