THE ADULT ACNE EPIDEMIC
You may think acne as a condition that belongs to your youth but today, an influx of adult woman are experiencing acne – and some are having it worse than when they were teenagers.
Our modern lifestyles mean middle-aged women (44 per cent of all UK women according to the latest figures) are increasingly suffering the misery of bad skin and the rate of women suffering from acne is on the rise.
Cases of women and men developing acne for the first time in their thirties and forties are on the increase and it can even persist until their sixties. According to the latest statistics around 52 per cent of women over the age of 33 have some form of acne with about 15 per cent getting their first serious attack in their forties.
So what’s behind this epidemic of adult acne? Skin experts believe that an increase in the male hormone, testosterone, may be the main cause. It creates an excess of sebum — an oily/waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands to lubricate the skin. Too much sebum causes a build-up of oil and dead skin cells in hair follicle pores. Bacteria make their way to the blockage, and the growth in bacteria causes acne.
But many facets of modern life are also thought to exacerbate it, including junk food, the excessive consumption of sugar, hormone imbalances, also due to hormone overload in processed foods, stress as well as growing school of thought that acne is genetic. So f you’ve got it how do you deal with it?It is important to be treated by skin experts/ a dermatologist as early as possible to find out what’s causing your acne and also to prevent scarring. Growing concern over antibiotic resistance is changing how we are acne. We used to have a great deal of success treating acne with oral antibiotics but the bacteria responsible for causing acne has become so resistant to the drugs that the ability to treat modern acne has now become compromised so instead we are relying more on topical treatments with targeted skincare, laser and light treatments along with chemical peels and prescribed hormone treatments.
Often, it is hard for acne sufferers to understand why, even with on-going treatment, they cannot get rid of their symptoms forever. But acne is similar to having any chronic disease, although there is no cure yet, we can control the symptoms and patients with acne need to find a treatment regime that works for them to maintain clear skin. Remember, many acne treatments may take a while to work (anywhere from 2-6 months) so doesn’t stop using the treatment within this time period. And if your acne does not improve talk to your doctor or dermatologist. Mention any side effects from, or irritations to, your acne treatment. Some acne treatments tend to dry out the skin during the initial stages but the skin usually adjusts.
SKIN CLEARING SOLUTIONS
AT THE CLINIC
No single medical therapy fits every case but the single most important thing you can do to keep acne under control is to have a good skin care routine and this means using the right products for you along with a range of topical treatments including IPL, microdermabrasion and chemical peels
*For milder breakouts, topical medications like retinoid – derived from vitamin A –can significantly improve the skin. You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to get it.
* Smartxide Laser 3- 5 treatments, six weeks apart will improve skin tone boost collagen and fade acne scars. From £250 per treatment 0207 436 4441
*Glycolic Peels- a monthly peel will help improve acne scarring and keep pores unblocked. From £60
* PRP therapy also known as Dracula Therapy which uses your own blood can help stimulate the regeneration of skin cells and new collagen. The results are natural with no downtime. From £400 a treatment
*If you’ve been left with acne scars, fat transfer or filler can fill out the dents leaving a smoother complexion from £200
BEST HIGH STREET BUYS
Look out for these spot-busting ingredients
*Glycolic Acid-derived from sugar cane, can penetrate pores and dissolve the plug of dead skin cells and oil that block pores and allow bacteria to grow that leads to spots.
*Salicylic Acid-derived from the willow tree, breaks up pore clogging sebum and encourages the shedding of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin
*Benzoyl Peroxide- Benzoyl peroxide has an antibacterial effect and helps kill bacteria that occurs in acne but be careful with clothes and towels it will bleach them white! Also avoid getting too much sun while you’re using it.
*Sulfur acts as an anti-bacterial agent, a pore cleanser and inflammation reducer. four and 12 weeks.
*Avene’s Cleanance K Gel Crème £11 contains glycolic and lactic acid to deep cleanse pores. It has a peeling effect on the skin and also regulates oil secretion. Keeps skin matt and holds make up really well. (boots.com)
*La Roche Posay Effaclar A.I. Targeted Breakout Corrector £9.50 lightweight corrector cream which clears up spots and also prevents residual skin marking (boots.com)
*LAB Blue-Ray thermal and light acne treatment £55 a hands free acne treatment which uses the latest blue-light and thermal technology to fight bacteria and clear spots in less than 24 hours boots.com (boots.com)
If you’re tempted to treat your acne with a few old tricks from your teen years, don’t. Adult skin is more sensitive and less resilient than adolescent complexions The most important thing you can do for your skin is have a good skin routine
*Avoid anything that contains lanolin, mineral oil, or petroleum.
*Don’t use pressed powders pancake or powder or liquid foundation, because most contain oil. Use a good mineral make up, it’s anti-inflammatory, acts as a concealer, foundation, powder and sunscreen all in one*Cleanse no more than twice a day And never cleanse with harsh soaps that will dry out your skin. Since your skin is likely drier than it once was, over-washing can remove the surface oils that keep it supple
*Drinking water is crucial. Aim for 2 litres a day to flush out toxins and increase your intake of dietary fibre
* Focus on exfoliating, not degreasing. As we age, skin’s cell turnover slows, and pores can get clogged with dead cells. Slough them away with an at-home peel.
*Never squeeze spots. It’s tempting, but when you squeeze or pick at pimples, you may be pushing the inflammation deeper into your skin which could cause scarring.
*Wash make up brushes regularly, twice a week at least
*Use a clean pillowcase. The following night turn it over and on the third night change and use a clean pillowcase and repeat.
*Avoid shellfish According to new research; they may be making you break out. The reason: Shellfish contain iodine, which is the only dietary component proven to cause breakouts in people sensitive to it—plus, they are “high androgen foods,” meaning they could contain hormones that lead to acne.
* New research has identified an inability among sufferers to digest saturated fats, so eliminating dairy products and all animal fats, especially red meats, may help to manage the symptoms. Sufferers should also avoid yeast and white sugars.