How to diagnose and treat adult acne?

womans face in close up photography

Acne is like unrecognised crushes or embarrassing moments from third grade. It’s one of those things that you hope to forget when you reach adulthood.

However, acne does not disappear one day and never return.

Although I still vividly recall how I envied clear-faced young girls, research (and laments on social media) has shown that these gals might be suffering from breakouts as adults. Yes, 61.9 percent of people who see doctors for acne treatment are over 25 years old.

These skin changes are known as “adult-onset acne” and can be caused by clogged pores or bacteria, oil overproduction, hormones, and hormonal changes.

Yes, there are many possible causes. These include pregnancy, progesterone-only contraception, normal monthly hormonal fluctuations, diet changes, and even certain medications.

Even if you don’t feel stressed, your skin might be. Perhaps you’ve had to deal with more acne. While adult acne is most common around the jawline and chin, the real horror of this story lies in the fact that acne can appear anywhere.

womans face in close up photography

How can you bring it back to normal?

Let’s face facts: Your teenage routine won’t cut it anymore. You need to be introduced to a whole new world of skin care products. A professional can help you with this.

To give you a glimpse of what they can do, I spoke to four skin care professionals. Take a look at their capabilities:

Get the skin you desire by streamlining your journey

Online quizzes are great for determining your skin type and causing acne. However, speaking with a professional can help you feel more confident.

1. Personalized, fast-tracked treatment plans

“A professional will analyze and then create a treatment program for you,” says Dana Murray, an esthetician licensed with over 15 years’ experience.

“We consider your skin type, any other skin conditions, medications you take, any health issues you may have, lifestyle, diet, and climate.”

2. Locate the root cause

Licensed esthetician and popular skin care Youtuber Nayamka Roberts-Smith tells me, “A professional can sift through the madness. There are many types of acne, including hormonal, cystic and comedonal. It’s important to identify the type that you want to treat.”

Different types of acne can be treated differently. The cause is what will determine how successful you are. You may need to have your hormones tested in certain cases.

3. Provide evidence via cumulative experience

Roberts-Smith says, “I’m always going advocate for seeing a dermatologist, not only because i’m one, but also because it’s difficult to trust the skincare market.”

With great marketing, brands will sell ineffective products. Although promises to’make your pores disappear’ or ‘zap your acne’ sound appealing, they are not always reliable.

This is partly due to the fact that brands design their products so that they work for most people. You won’t be able to tell if you are being treated by an expert. A professional can identify the skin’s needs and recommend the right product.

Need to speak with an expert but can’t find one? Let’s get help!

Many people don’t have the resources or time to visit a specialist in acne. The pros we spoke with generously shared their top tips.

At the minimum, determine what kind of acne you have. This will narrow down your treatment options.

If you have a lot of clogged pores, blackheads or occasional pimples, salicylic acid (BHA), is a good choice. Murray says that it is also great for sensitive people.

“Benzoyl Peroxide is the best treatment for inflammatory acne, such as whiteheads and cystic. Ice is a great way to soothe an inflamed pimple.”

Licensed esthetician Ashley White recommends the following additional ingredients to keep acne in check and prevent it from coming back:

Add to your arsenal

  • Retinoids: Help reduce breakouts by normalizing cell turnover.
  • Niacinamide is a powerful ingredient that improves epidermal protection and decreases sebum excretion (though it has not been FDA-approved to treat acne).
  • Sulfur*: A certified acne treatment that absorbs excess oil.

*Oral sulfa allergies can be quite common. Before you use any products that have sulfur, make sure to speak to your doctor.

These are all options that you can try if you don’t see results. Talk to your doctor about topical or oral anti-biotics, birth control pills, and spironolactone (off label). Oral isotretinoin may be required for severe and scarring acne.

Stress acne can cause is real. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have failed if topical treatments don’t work. It is normal to make mistakes and find what works.

Acne treatment is not an overnight success

None of the stages – clearing, purging, and forming acne – can be done in one day. If acne takes several days to clear up, it is likely that it will not disappear in one day.

Ashley Curtis is an aesthetician with 13-years of experience. She says that taking before and after photos is a great tip for adding new products to your routine.

It’s not helpful to look at your skin daily for instant progress. It takes 28 days to complete a skin cycle. It is likely that your skin goals will take up to four times as long.

It will take time to make hormonal changes, cleanse your body through a routine or address internal issues through diet. It is the knowledge that I am on the right path that helps me get through the difficult times.

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