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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Adult Onset Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin diseases, affecting at least 90 percent to 95 percent of the population at one point in life. While it is most prevalent among teenagers, acne is surprisingly common in adulthood. Some studies indicate that the number one chronic condition of the American female between the ages of 30-40 is indeed acne. What’s surprising is that acne may not start for the first time until women reach their 30’s or 40’.

Understanding ACNE
Acne generally occurs on the face, but is also found on the neck, chest and back. Inflammation in the hair follicles and over-active hormone-sensitive glands within the skin are the usual contributing factors that cause acne. Bacteria are involved in the inflammatory response.
Unfortunately, the inflammatory nature of acne can cause more damage to your skins structures, making the visible manifestations of acne worse over time. Increasing hormone levels, physical or emotional stress can also contribute to acne.

It’s important, as adults, to seek treatment that is customized to your needs. One mistake many adults make is using the same product that their son or daughter uses. Traditional acne products that are used for teenagers with oily skin oftentimes may be too drying and irritating for adults. Excessive drying of the skins surface with harsh topical products may only serve to aggravate acne inflammation.

Instead, patients may be best served talking to their dermatologists to seek out prescriptions to complement topical products. In addition, a few dermatologists can offer in-office procedures such as LED, photodynamic therapy (PDT), laser, topical chemical peels, and Blu-U Light.

Licensed Aestheticians may also help acne issues. Deep cleansing facial treatments, microdermabrasion and chemical peels will help unclog the pores, encourage exfoliation, and smooth skin texture.

One very effective procedure rarely talked about is acne surgery. This process involves either an injection of diluted cortisone to the acne site or drainage of the site but in most cases both options are used to best treat the patient’s acne. The main purpose of this procedure is to minimize scarring potential while allowing the patient to experience an immediate improvement in pain and appearance, usually within 24 hours.

Be sure to avoid all in office procedures if you are currently taking oral isotretinoin (or generic brands as Accutane is currently y off the market), and for at least six months to one year after the course is finished.

A home care regimen can also help. Ask our dermatologists about at-home products that will help stop the inflammation, kill bacteria, and help repair the damaged skin and pores.
Here are some additional steps that can help you successfully manage your acne at home:

1. Eliminate pore-clogging products. This includes certain facial creams, sunscreen and makeup. Look for the term “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic”. Only use oil-free makeup
2. Control oil production without irritating the skin barrier. Your cleanser should be ph-balanced and contain ingredients that do not strip the necessary skin barrier oils.
3. Do not use harsh scrubs or cleanse the skin more than three times a day. These practices can contribute to inflammation and make the condition worse. Use only gentle exfoliants to purge microbes and dirt. Ask our physician or myself about products with beta-hydroxy acid (such as salicylic acid or willow bark extract), retinol, benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid.
4. Heat, humidity, sweating and stress can worsen acne.

Because every person’s skin and body is unique, it takes time to determine the precise combination of factors that will clear the acne. Remember, successful treatment of acne will require diligently following the recommendations of your dermatologist and skin care professional, along with lifestyle changes you may need to make. For more information please refer to our website: http://www.westgatedermatology.com/

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