The Bane Of Adult Acne And What To Do About It

Hello from myself and also from the giant red spot that seems to have taken up permanent residence on my chin.

It's the kind that really lingers around, as unwelcome as the girlfriend of your flatmate who always seems to be on your couch when you get home from work makes weird-smelling stews.

Is there anything quite so dispiriting as acne when you are long past your hormone-ravaged, desperate-to-be cool teenage self? Hardly.

And yet with factors such as the environment, stress and, yes, hormones – not to mention menstruation, pregnancy and menopause (really, is there no end to the valiant suffering of women?) – it's a common problem.

Is there anything quite so dispiriting as acne when you are long past your hormone-ravaged, desperate-to-be cool teenage self?
UNSPLASHIs there anything quite so dispiriting as acne when you are long past your hormone-ravaged, desperate-to-be cool teenage self?

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The rise of adult acne is 'like an epidemic'

According to Dr Natasha Cook of Sydney's Darlinghurst Dermatology, around one in three women (and some men) will suffer from adult acne. In a large part, it's down to your genetics and hormones. But there are things you can do to stabilise, calm and prevent breakouts.

This includes looking at your diet.

"[In] the old days we thought diet was not relevant. We now understand it is implicated. The key to an acne-friendly diet is insulin stability. Insulin instability basically creates hormone instability which then ultimately act out on your skin," says Cook.

Eating to stabilise insulin is basically a low-sugar and low-carb diet with lots of anti-inflammatory vegetables like kale and broccoli and good fats like avocado and olive oil.

Other beneficial things – which we probably all know to do but don't always find the time, or inclination for – are getting a full night's sleep (if you're lucky!), adding in yoga and meditation and generally aiming for that elusive work/life balance.

The best treatment depends on your acne type and individual circumstances.
ShutterstockThe best treatment depends on your acne type and individual circumstances.

Avoid using a harsh cleanser or scrub which can strip out the good oils in skin and compromise the skin barrier (opt for something gentle like Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Cleanser or Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel ). The Anti-Aging Blemish Control: Time Release Blemish Cleanser from Murad is another one to try too.

Look for cleansers with salicylic acid, which as Katy Bacon, Murad education director says is key in helping to clear out pores which can get clogged and lead to breakouts.

Salicylic acid, says Bacon, "treats, heals and prevents acne without over-drying or irritating skin, which can cause more acne breakouts. Another factor with acne is Inflammation which is always involved when you have a breakout, causing swelling and redness. Searching for ingredients that are going to calm, de-clog and fight bacteria is key".

Also: clean your makeup brushes, pillowcases and mobile phone screen regularly and try very hard not to squeeze and pick your spots (which can lead to scarring).

Janet Hayward, founder of natural face and body oil brand Ipsum skin says we shouldn't be afraid of using oils to treat acne-prone skin too.

"Adult acne can really benefit from oils, as they not only help to balance out skin's own lipid production, they offer wonderful natural clarifying, healing and anti-inflammatory properties – with antibacterial and anti-microbial benefits too," she says.

"Blends containing tea tree oil are often recommended but some of the best oils to use to soothe acne skin and help regenerate and restore skin back to health are lavender oil – which can be used neat on the skin to relieve redness and swelling; sandalwood oil – which inhibits bacterial growth and has a wonderful calming and destressing effect on the skin and the mind; and grapeseed oil – which is mildly astringent to help gently clarify skin, but is also rich in linoleic acid to nourish and balance."

Cleaning your makeup brushes, pillowcases and mobile phone screen regularly will help you avoid breakouts.
ShutterstockCleaning your makeup brushes, pillowcases and mobile phone screen regularly will help you avoid breakouts.

Cook says another big skincare myth is that you should not moisturise acne-prone skin.

"Big mistake," she says. "[You] need [a moisturiser] that integrates perfectly into the skin and that does not congest. This will calm acne-inflamed skin, strengthen the barrier and the hydrated skin environment helps the exfoliation enzymes work better leading to less congestion and less breakouts."

Look out for moisturisers with B3 (anti-inflammatory niacinamide) and then apply a spot treatment lotion.

Cook has a heavy hitting Concentrated Spot Destroyer which has BHA (salicylic acid) mixed with AHA (mainly lactic acid) in a rollerball delivery system, which helps to speed up recovery from breakouts and remove dead skin cells (to stop them happening in the first place).

You could also try the Verso Blemish Fix which has niacinamide, turmeric and portulaca, helping to minimise active breakouts and reduce inflammation.

Meanwhile, La Roche Posay is launching its "Effaclar Spotscan" technology this month: an online acne diagnosis tool, co-developed with dermatologists, that helps recommend treatment plans.

Dr JoAnn See, dermatologist at Central Sydney Dermatology and co-chair of All About Acne says the tool is helpful in recommending appropriate treatment, but leaves treatment decisions for medical experts. Something she sees as crucial.

"The best thing you can do to treat your acne is to talk to your healthcare professional. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to acne. Different treatments act via different mechanisms," she says."Therefore, treatment will need to be selected according to your acne type and individual circumstances. Your doctor knows the best treatments available for acne. They can select from products that unblock pores, control oil production, reduce bacteria, or regulate hormone levels. Their choice will depend on the severity of your acne, potential for scarring, the emotional impact acne is having on your life and your medical history."

The best thing you can do to treat your acne is to talk to your healthcare professional
The best thing you can do to treat your acne is to talk to your healthcare professional

So, back to my malingering spot. Will it ever go for good? See says treating acne takes time and patience.

Also, a lot of hanging in there. As Katy Bacon puts it of pesky adult acne, "depending on your cause or severity, skin can improve or worsen depending on that-time-of-the-month or stress levels; however, once these hormonal factors have corrected then its normal to see the condition improve. Until then, its important to look after your skin to help keep it hydrated, clean and clear to reduce the risk of inflammatory pigmentation and scarring caused by picking and squeezing<.

So, yes. Eventually, if I stick to the above routines, my unwelcome guest will get the hint. No passive aggressive note left in the kitchen necessary.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/beauty/112511623/the-bane-of-adult-acne-and-what-to-do-about-it

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