Battling acne doesn’t end just because the teenage years are behind you. One in five women between the ages of 25 to 40 suffer from adult acne that can affect self-esteem. Females seem to be hit harder by breakouts than men. The good news is there are ways to manage the breakouts and even help the pimples disappear.
By Dawn Tongish
Geena McKinney is locked in a constant battle with the bumps and blotches on her face. She tries to hide behind makeup, but most days it doesn’t work. “I always thought after puberty and hormones it would go away,” the plastic surgery assistant said. At 25, McKinney thought she was past dealing with acne, but each day she still struggles.
“It’s embarrassing when you see women with gorgeous skin and I am here trying to cover mine up.” It is a common problem. About 20% of adult women deal with facial breakouts. Acne is basically blocked pores that have become infected. It can start out with blackheads as the result of oil and dead cells. Physicians say when the pimple becomes infected it develops a whitehead or pustule.
Blame It On
Experts say stress can cause an uptick in oil production in the glands and that can be to blame. In today’s busy world where we are dashing about in hyper mode, stress is at an all-time high. “We are doing so much more. We are responsible for a job, kids, marriage and even work. Women are just under a lot of stress,” says board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Mary Lupo.
Dr. Lupo says stress is just one factor affecting whether or not pimples appear in grown women. Hormones are another, along with a sugary diet. “Often I will ask an older patient who has acne if they have a sweet tooth and if they say yes, then I say they have to cut it out.” Hormones could also play a role in adult acne. It’s why your acne may spike before your period and it’s also why post-menopausal women don’t seem to have as much acne. Experts say it is important to remember that while stress and certain foods don’t CAUSE acne, these items can make it worse by exacerbating your sebaceous glands to overproduce.
Yes, It’s Treatable
Women can feel self-conscious about the way they look in the mirror if they have acne, but there are treatments and remedies. Many times the adult is treated differently than a teen, but with some of the same products. One of the most common treatments is a retinol-based product. Some can be purchased at a drug or department store, others must be obtained through a doctor with a prescription. Doctors agree there is no reason to suffer in silence.
“It’s very treatable”, says Dr. Kevin Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dr. Smith says there are new procedures and products to help acne patients deal with mild to severe cases of acne quickly and with little down time. He says the the medical community views acne as a valid malady and women and men no longer have to live with break outs. “There’s many good skin care topicals that can be applied and antibiotics that can be used to kill any bacteria. There are also cleansing devises like the Clarisonic Brush to deep clean the pores and let them breathe.”
For now, Geena will keep on using products, diet and chemical peels to try and clear up her skin. She is sure that one day her face will be clear and glowing and the teenage war she’s fought for so long will be done.
“I will just be able to finally feel as confident on the outside, as I feel on the inside.”