Many of us have experienced acne in our teenage years due to hormonal changes, and we thought we would grow out of acne once we entered our adult years.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Acne is somehow more relevant in the beginning chapters of our adult life.
Studies indicate that roughly 40-55% of adults from ages 20 to 40 suffer from breakouts — they are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin.
What causes acne?
The main reason we get acne is because of the excess oil produced by sebaceous glands.
Sebum (oil) production from sebaceous glands is normal, and sebum helps to lubricate and protect the skin.
When there is overactive sebum production, however, dead skin cells are not shed properly, stick together, and clog up pores and follicles.
A type of bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, that usually lives on the skin surface, gets trapped in clogged pores as well. It thrives on sebum and dead skin cells, happily growing and proliferating. This stimulates inflammation, which results in red and swollen acne – papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules.
Why do I still get acne as an adult?
There are many other contributing factors:
Hormonal levels affect sebum production. Women tend to notice worsening of acne near their period, or even during pregnancy. In some women, there may be an underlying medical condition known as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) with symptoms of irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and increased facial hair. It is important to see a doctor to diagnose and treat the medical condition, and not just the acne.
Stress can trigger acne. Stress hormone called CRH is one of the culprit causing breakouts. With additional commitments and responsibilities as an adult, our stress level tend to increase. Stress increases the amount of oil your skin produces, which can clog pores and cause breakouts.
Other medical conditions such as rosacea, fungal infection (sometimes called fungal acne), and seborrhoeic dermatitis may look like acne. These conditions may not respond to the conventional acne treatment.
Skin, makeup, and hair products can also cause acne. Some ingredients are comedogenic – meaning, they are likely to occlude pores and worsen acne. As everyone’s skin is different, the same product may work wonderfully for some people but cause breakouts in others.
When using a new skincare product, it is recommended to do a patch test or split face test for a few weeks to ensure that the product does not worsen acne or cause an allergic reaction.
- Patch test: Apply first only on an area that is less conspicuous, such as the side of your neck. If there is no rash, itch, or other adverse reaction, you can then use the product the next day.
- Split face test: Apply the new product to only half of the face (left or right) for at least 1 week to assess your skin’s reaction – clogged pores, comedone bumps, or new pimples that are more apparent on one side compared to the other.
Do not introduce more than 1 new product at a time, or it will be difficult to assess which is the acne-causing culprit.
Certain foods may worsen acne. Dairy and high glycemic index foods such as sugary drinks, cakes, snacks, and simple carbohydrates have been shown to worsen acne. Studies have also shown that acne improves just by cutting out high glycemic index foods.
Acne Face Map. There is also an interesting technique which is called Acne Face Map that tells you about what’s going on in your body. However, there’s little to no scientific evidence that supports this idea, and this may not be applicable to anyone as people has individual sensitivities.
After all, it serves its purpose to remind us that we should always take care of our diet, lifestyle, and health in order to achieve better complexion.
Apart from home remedies and changing our lifestyles, there are many treatments that like chemical peel and Light Therapy to kill existing bacteria, and reduce inflammation caused by blemishes.
Why still suffer from acne when there are many effective treatments to target the root causes of acne? Speak with our doctors for a comprehensive evaluation and management plan.
Contact us at +65 9728 2861.