Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Adult acne is a common problem that can cause physical and emotional distress. It affects millions of people, and yet it is often misunderstood and undertreated. The good news is that there are many effective treatments available, and with the right approach, adult acne can be usually be controlled.
Although acne is usually considered a teen issue, particularly in males, women are more likely than men to suffer from adult acne.
Underlying Causes of Acne
The first step in addressing adult acne is to identify and address the underlying causes. Acne occurs when our bodies produce too much sebum (oil). Dead skin cells, which usually get dry and flake off, stick together with the sebum inside pores and clog them. If P. acnes (Propionibacterium acnes), a type of skin bacteria, gets inside the clogged pore, the bacteria can multiply quickly and cause inflamed pores, cysts or nodules.
Other factors that trigger or worsen adult acne include:
- Hormonal changes (almost 65% percent of women have acne during menstruation)
Diet and Acne
Research shows that certain foods like milk, chocolate, and foods with a high glycemic index (foods that increase blood sugar levels more than others), appear to trigger acne more than other foods. The theory is that a high glycemic diet can cause a rise in insulin, which affects other hormones and can lead to acne. Although not everyone is affected equally, if you suffer from acne, it may be time to look at your diet. Keep a food diary and note increased or decreased breakouts after eating certain foods or eliminating certain foods.
Stress and Acne
Although how stress can trigger breakouts is unknown, one theory suggests that stress produces adrogen hormones, which are hormones that stimulate oil glands that can increase sebum production. Another theory is that oxidative stress changes our antioxidant defense system at both the skin and systemic level, causing acne. The greater the body’s chemical stress markers, the more severe the acne.
Other researchers have looked at a gut-brain-skin theory, proposing that constant increased stress can change intestinal microflora, increase intestinal permeability, and contribute to systemic inflammation, which might trigger acne.
Natural Topical Solutions
There are many different treatment options for adult acne, ranging from over-the-counter products to prescription medications. Over-the-counter products such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help to clear up mild cases of acne. For more severe cases, prescription medications such as antibiotics or retinoids may be necessary.
However, research is now looking at more natural approaches to helping adult set acne that can actually be more helpful and less detrimental than some conventional options.
Lavender essential oil and bergamot
These essential oils have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties
Rosemary essential oil
The antibacterial properties of rosemary essential oil can fight against the bacteria P. acnes.
Tea tree oil
In a 2007 double-blind study, a topical application of 5% tea tree oil effectively treated mild to moderate acne. A 2010 evidence-based review pointed to tea tree oil as having the potential to become a standard treatment for acne.
Always work with a knowledgeable health care professional when using these or other products.
Taking vitamin A (10,000 IU daily), or eating dark green and yellow vegetables, cantaloupe and eggs is vital for new cell production.
This trace mineral works with vitamin A to aid in healing. Zinc also helps stabilize oil gland production. It can be found in nuts, beans, whole grains, peas and dairy products.
Research has found that an unhealthy gut microbiome can cause inflammatory manifestations on skin. Taking a quality probiotic can help restore balance and improve skin health.
Flaxseed and borage oil
These essential fatty acids (EFAs) and gama-linoleic acids (GLAs) help regulate male hormone production. They lower the amount of sebum manufactured, which in turn reduces pore clogging.
In addition to the above, there are also several lifestyle changes that can help to improve adult acne. Exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can help to keep hormonal levels in balance and reduce sebum production. It’s also important to drink plenty of water, as dehydration can make skin more prone to breaking out.
Another factor to consider when trying to prevent breakouts is your skincare routine. If you’re using products that are high in oil or alcohol, they may be contributing to your breakouts. Try switching to gentle, non-comedogenic skincare products instead. And be sure to wash your face two times a day with a gentle cleanser – this will help remove any built-up dirt or oil from your skin.
If you’re struggling with adult acne, try incorporating these tips into your daily routine and see if they help. With the right approach, adult acne can be controlled effectively and safely.
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