Ever have acne as a teenager? Well, for many of my patients the answer would be yes! If you’re one of these people who has endured this awful and embarrassing condition you can easily relate to the many adults who continued to suffer.
Here’s an interesting fact: twenty-five percent of men and fifty percent of women are affected by adult acne. And for these people it means an ongoing breakout of pimples and blackheads. You would assume that acne is something that most people outgrow once they’re through with their teens. But unfortunately this is not the case. In adults, it can cause embarrassment, social discomfort, and even depression.
Causes of adult acne vary.
The number one cause is hormone fluctuations. Women may continue to experience breakouts as part of their monthly cycle well after puberty. Often women going through menopause experience more frequent breakouts. And people enduring high levels of stress are more prone to breakouts as stress can lead to hormone imbalances.
Other causes include dietary factors, environmental factors and vitamin deficiencies.
How You Can Eliminate Adult Acne Breakouts
If you have severe acne, it’s a good idea to visit your dermatologist for help. He or she can help you reduce symptoms and prevent scarring.
If you have moderate or mild acne, you can usually treat this yourself. Here is a three-tiered approach that works for most people.
A Cleansing Regimen: The first step to eliminating acne is to keep your skin clean. Make washing your face a part of both your morning and your going-to-bed routine. Irritated skin is more prone to breakouts, so use a gentle cleanser. Follow up your gentle cleanser with a 2.5% benzyl peroxide cream—it’s gentler than the maximum strength 10% solutions and just as effective. (Benzyl peroxide kills the bacteria that cause acne.) Finally finish with a gentle moisturizer.
Dietary Triggers: Specific foods don’t universally cause acne. However, individuals may find they breakout after they eat certain foods. Try to identify your own food triggers, and then make an effort to avoid those foods. Sugary or greasy foods tend to be the usual culprits.
Important Nutrients: Not getting enough vitamins can also trigger breakouts. Make sure you get enough vitamins C, E, and A. Also, try to get adequate amounts of B vitamins. The best way to do this is to take a good quality multi-vitamin supplement. Anecdotal evidence suggests that vitamin C, in particular, can help reduce the redness and swelling of breakouts. If you are in the middle of a breakout try taking 1000 mg of vitamin C before you go to bed—it may significantly reduce the appearance of the acne by morning.
Generally, for mild to moderate acne, following these steps will put an end to breakouts for most people. Try it for at least three weeks to see if it makes a difference for you.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Photo Credit: skincare-1.com