It always happens with a bump. A tiny red spot that seems to morph into a range of fiery red anthills on my chin. Acne. You would think a full-time job and my own cell phone plan would qualify me old enough to escape the embarrassment of trying to cover up the skin of a 13 year old. But alas, my glands just couldn’t give me the satisfaction of graduating out of puberty. At least not yet.
‘Adult acne is a common problem,’ I remind myself while staring down an impending bulge that appears JUST IN TIME FOR A DATE. Dermatologists estimate that nearly 30 percent of women and 20 percent of men over the age of 20 still see the occasional breakout. And while it can put a damper on your top-model ambitions (hey, there’s always Photoshop), there are many ways to treat and cover that nasty acne. So don’t hide yourself over a tiny bump in the road; with a little care and makeup you can put your best face forward any day of the week.
Some causes of acne
The culprit of acne will vary depending on your skin type, but many breakouts are caused by an overproduction of androgens or estrogen. For women, different birth controls, pregnancy, and menopause may be the trigger, as well as cosmetics or environmental conditions. Researchers have found that stress has a direct relationship to adult acne, and some people may have a predisposition for acne dueto genetics.
It’s tempting, I know it is, but almost every dermatologist will advise you to refrain from popping that pimple, no matter how unsightly it is. Doing so can lead to infection, scarring, and even more acne. Maintain a regular regimen for treatment, including gentle cleansing and perhaps a retinol cream prescribed by a dermatologist. Avoid using hot water, a washcloth, or washing for an extended amount of time, as all three practices have the tendency to further irritate skin.
Many acne cleansers are geared toward treating teenage acne, and can be a bad choice for adult skin. Cetaphil and Aquanil are gentle cleansers recommended by dermatologists, but outside of these brands look for the terms “non-acnegenic,” “oil-free,” and “won’t clog pores” on labels. If traditional over-the-counter skin care products are unsuccessful, consider seeing your dermatologist. He or she may be able to prescribe you an oral antibiotic like clindamycin or tetracycline. A dapsone gel may help reduce redness and infection.