Acne. Usually a condition we associate with our teenage years and believe will naturally disappear once we reach adulthood and our 20’s. However, this is not always the case. In this blog, we will break down the common causes of adult acne and what recommendations in lifestyle, products and treatment solutions we have to aid you on your way to a clearer complexion.
The most common adult acne symptoms
Acne is a condition which is very common amongst adults even into your 20’s and possibly 30’s. Most commonly, acne appears in six forms: whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, nodules (painful spots growing under the skin), papules (inflamed red bumps) and cystic lesions (under the skin and pus-filled).
6 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne. What’s Triggering Your Breakouts?
1. Hormones: In adult women, acne can be an indication of hormone imbalance. The overproduction of testosterone in the body can cause more oil production, thus an oilier appearance to the skin, clogging pores and causing breakouts. If this is the case, and there are other symptoms which suggest an imbalance such as irregular periods and hair growth, it is advised to visit your GP to see if there are any other issues that need to be tackled.
2. Genetics: According to the NHS, if one or both of your parents have had a history of acne, then you are also more likely to suffer from acne, even as an adult.
3. Diet: A diet high in processed sugar and/or dairy can trigger insulin levels, hormone imbalances and thus trigger acne production. It may not be necessary to cut out these products completely but a more balanced approach, reducing your daily intake of such foods and seeing whether this improves the appearance of acne, incorporating more whole foods (fruits, vegetables) into your lifestyle, may be an idea, and something within your own control. As with anything, moderation is key.
4. Medications: Some medications, or going onto and coming off of birth control, can cause hormone influx/imbalance and easily trigger breakouts in the skin. If you believe it is your medication, such as lithium for those suffering from depression, then it is advised to visit your GP to see whether there is an alternative option or to discover what within the medication is causing the breakouts.
5. Stress: Although there are not enough studies which suggest that stress alone can cause acne, there are studies which suggest it can certainly aggravate the issue at hand. It has found that when the body is in a stressed state, for example from staring at a screen all day, living through a pandemic, that the body can react by breaking out. Acne is a direct reflection of the fact that something is not quite right, and your body’s way of telling you it is in need of some TLC or changes. Reducing your screen time, going outside for exercise, taking 10 mins out of your day for breathwork or meditation, can all help in calming your mind and body. And, hopefully, help reduce the stressed appearance of the skin.
6. Skincare products: Skin is the body’s biggest organ and it can become triggered when overwhelmed with products. If you have an extensive skincare routine and have noticed breakouts, it may be time to cut down slightly and minimise your routine to the essentials (cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen) until inflammation has reduced. Following this, you can start adding back products into your routine slowly, in order to discover which product is causing irritation for your skin. If you are using oil-based products in your routine, this could also be triggering acne, as oil-based products, especially for those suffering from oily skin already, can clog pores and cause acne to develop. It is important to create a skincare line that is tailored to your skin type and goals.
How to deal with my adult acne?
When hit with an acne breakout, there are things we can incorporate on a personal level to aid our skin in recovery. Things such as cleansing twice a day to remove unwanted oil, dead skin cells and dirt from the pores (using a cleanser with anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid is a bonus), changing your pillows every other day, incorporating a retinoid cream to increase cell turnover and improve texture and tone, can all aid in stopping acne in its tracks and preventing future breakouts forming. It is also important not to overly stress, as this can aggravate the skin’s condition further and cause more harm than good!
The best acne treatments for adult acne
There are multiple acne treatments from drugstore products to professional facials which you can choose from and this can make it overwhelming as to which one will be most suitable for you. And, if you have tried drugstore products and are feeling disheartened at the lack of results, then it may be an idea to turn to a professional for an anti-acne facial treatment.
Vitamin A infusions are the best acne facial treatments available today
Vitamin A, in the form of retinol, is a great option for those dealing with acne and also acne scars. The way retinol works on the skin’s epidermis, the surface level of the skin as an exfoliator, essentially declogging pores and removing oil and dirt from the skin. As clogged pores are a common cause of acne formation, the regular use of vitamin A can aid in reducing acne breakouts. For use as an acne scar and hyperpigmentation treatment, retinol functions by penetrating into the dermis layer of the skin and encouraging collagen production and cell renewal, promoting new skin and thus healing and fading acne scars over time.
Vitamin A infusions, in the form of topical creams and serums and more specifically as professional chemical peels are the best acne facial treatment due to the fact that retinol is of such small molecular size, that it can penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin. This is why retinol is so highly recommended, it functions on multiple layers of the skin, from the epidermis to dermis, to prevent future acne from forming on the skin’s surface as well as enabling the skin to heal in its deeper levels and create renewed smooth textured and toned skin.
Additionally, with vitamin A infusions in the form of chemical peels, such as a PCA peel, they are minimally invasive to the skin and require no downtime post-treatment. So overall, vitamin A infusions are a great option available for those who wish to prevent and renew, tackle the existing acne and treat the acne scars that follow.
Will my acne scars go away?
A scar is indicative of permanent damage to the skin which requires treatment in order to disappear. And, if the acne scar is what is known as a ‘pitted scar’, that has created an indent in the skin, this could suggest damage at a deeper level and may require more aggressive professional treatment in order for it to heal.
It can be quite disheartening after going through such a tough time dealing with acne and thinking that the worst is over, to see the reminisce of acne in the form of scarring on the skin. This, just like acne, can have an awful effect on your mental health, feeling like your back to square one and can even lead to desires of social withdrawal. But nowadays, much like with acne, there are acne scar treatments available for all types of scarring which can aid in not only improving our overall skin complexion but perhaps even aid in rebuilding self-esteem and confidence.
There are plenty of facial treatments available and at Dermoi! we believe the best facial treatments to remove acne scars are generally chemical peels. These include, but are not limited to, salicylic, glycolic acid, retinol and mandelic acid peels. Below are a few specific treatments available and a breakdown of what the treatment involves, to help you decide which is the best facial treatment to remove acne scars for you.
PCA Skin Peel
This is a great option for those dealing with a variety of acne scarring, from an ice pick scars (those that cause a punctured appearance to the skin), rolling scars (forming on top of the skin, giving a bump-like appearance) to boxcar scars (forming like round craters in the skin). This is due to the combination of mandelic acid peels, an exfoliating AHA, which has the ability to regulate oil production in the skin, unclog the pores to prevent future breakouts from appearing, and calm existing redness and inflammation on the skin’s surface level. Further, mandelic acid is known for its ability to regulate skin texture and tone, shedding dead skin cells and revealing smoother skin, whilst encouraging collagen production as well. Therefore, mandelic acid peels such as the PCA skin peel are great for those seeking to reduce the appearance of acne, prevent a reoccurrence and heal acne scars.
Microneedling is also a treatment that is known for treating acne scars as well as fine lines and sun damage. This is due to the fact that microneedling uses fine needles which pricks/mildly injures the skin and triggers the skin to produce new collagen tissue. This new skin thus gives the appearance of a more even-toned and textured complexion, a method of healing previous trauma and damage to the skin. This treatment is not very painful, although mild discomfort may be felt as the skin is being ‘injured’, and the skin may experience redness for the few days following treatment. A course of 3-6 treatments is generally recommended to see the full benefits of the treatment, the results are not immediate due to the rate of cell turnover.
Tailored-to-you acne treatments are the best place to start
This is what makes Dermoi! unique. Dermoi! offers an array of treatments from a more holistic approach with the Osmosis facials to more targeted chemical peels such as the PCA peel. And for those dealing with a variety of skin concerns, not only acne scarring but issues such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture and tone, a tailored acne treatment may be a great starting point.
A tailored approach provides the opportunity to discuss with the aesthetician who can analyse your skin and offer recommendations depending on your skin type and provide an individual acne scar treatment to suit you and your skin goals. This approach which caters to you is combined with science-backed skincare, the use of ingredients such as mandelic and glycolic acid which are known for their exfoliating benefits, shedding dead skin cells to reveal fresher, smoother skin, is what makes Dermoi! a great acne facial treatment in London.
What is the best acne treatment to cure my adult acne from the inside out?
At Dermoi!, a product we recommend for treating adult acne is the supplement Skin Accumax. This is due to Skin Accumax’s fusion of vitamins and ingredients such as vitamin C and E, which paired together, fight free radicals, protects the skin cells from damage and aids in a well-functioning immune system that produces collagen and moisturisers the skin. It also contains rice fibre, known for its soothing properties and ability to nourish/moisturiser the skin from the deeper layers to the surface epidermis. Rice fibre is also known for its brightening abilities, thus not only does Skin Accumax function to treat surface level acne but also regulate moisture levels and brighten the irregular texture and tone of the skin once the acne is under control.
What are the latest acne treatments for hormonal acne?
One of the latest acne treatments specifically for treating hormonal acne is the skin supplement Skin Clear Biome. It is effective in treating acne due to its inclusion of zinc, a mineral crucial for the smooth functioning of the skin this is due to its anti-inflammatory abilities, making it great for those suffering from acne, as zinc has the ability to calm, and reduce swelling on the skin. Further, it contains lactic acid bacteria which, studies have found, prevent skin diseases and ease skin conditions. Therefore, Skin Clear Biome is effective as an acne treatment as it not only functions to reduce the appearance of acne for aesthetic purposes but also can protect the skin and body by stimulating the immune system, protecting and tackling from the inside out.
Author: Katherine Nagato