As a result of the hormone increases that accompany puberty, more than 85% of teenagers have acne. For many of them, the condition will lessen or go away completely by the time they their twenties. For some adults, however, acne becomes a lifelong problem.
Many adults particularly notice acne flare ups during periods of stress. This is indicative of the complex relationship between our emotions and our bodies. By identifying and treating the causes of acne, it’s possible to manage the condition and achieve clear skin at any age.
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Adult acne can be either an extension of teenage acne or a new condition that appears at any age. Very often, adult acne breakouts are associated with hormonal shifts or periods of stress.
Acne is a skin condition characterized by clogged pores in the skin. Pores are openings in the skin that contain oil glands. These glands excrete oil called sebum that lubricates skin while promoting the removal of old, dead skin cells and the regeneration of new ones. When the oil gland produces an excess amount of oil, it can mix dirt, bacteria, and dead skin to form a clog in the pore.
If the pore is closed at the surface, it is called a whitehead. If open to the skin, the clog oxidizes and becomes dark and is called a blackhead. Sometimes the clog can become infected. When this happens, the body’s immune response causes increased blood flow to the area. This supplies white blood cells and oxygen that help fight the infection, but also contributes to the redness and inflammation often associated with acne.
Adult acne is caused by the same combination of genetics, hormones, stress, and environmental factors like weather that cause teenage acne. Although adult hormone fluctuations are generally not as severe as those in teenagers, it still plays a role, particularly in women. Pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle are all accompanied by hormone changes that can affect the skin. Harsh or oily skin care products and cosmetics often used by women can also contribute to clogged pores.
A major culprit in many adult acne breakouts is stress. breakouts is stress. This is the reason acne flare ups tend to coincide with emotional or high-tension life periods. Emotional stress results in elevated levels of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol causes an increase in blood sugar levels and an inflammatory response in cells all throughout the body. This inflammation can worsen acne on its on as well as by increasing skin oil production.
There are multiple ways to treat adult acne. Often, the most successful regimens address internal and external factors to combat the acne’s different causes.
External methods for treating adult acne
include thousands of washes and lotions. Typically, these treatments either have antibacterial properties to fight the possibility of infection or work to remove dead skin cells and debris before they can cause clogs.
One of the most common and effective ingredients is salicylic acid, a substance that helps exfoliate skin. Salicylic acid removes dead skin and other contaminants from the pore, keeping them clean. Dr. Perricone uses salicylic acid in both the Skin Clear Toner and Skin Clear Cleanser.
The Perricone Skin Clear line, made cheaper with a special Perricone deal, also includes ingredients to fight the signs of aging and to reduce the dryness that salicylic acid can cause. Alpha lipoic acid provides antioxidant protection and while refining fine lines and skin texture.
The Skin Clear Hydrator uses lactic acid to smooth skin and hydrates and protects with allantoin. It also contains DMAE to help lift, firm, and tighten skin.
Many women use birth control pills as an internal treatment to help clear up their acne. Birth control works by maintaining constant hormone levels. Regulated hormone levels in turn help regulate oil production, thus reducing clogs.
Perricone MD also recommends internal treatments because acne is a systemic, inflammatory condition. Skin Clear Supplements contain powerful antioxidants like ALA and vitamin C as well as omega-3 fatty acid to improve skin texture and support a healthy immune system.
For more on omega-3, watch this video:
Dr. Perricone’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a particularly potent way to help stop acne before it starts. It is designed to treat the systemic inflammation at the root of a number of conditions, including acne. It focuses on healthy fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. These foods are especially well suited to reducing the inflammation that contributes to acne and keeps skin from looking clear and radiant.
Finally, stress reduction like yoga, meditation, or even just calming walks in nature can help to clear skin. Anything that relaxes you will lower your cortisol levels fight the tension that can result in adult acne blemishes.