Adult acne is a topic I am passionate about because it is debilitating and when it improves with lasting control, it is life changing.
When we were teenagers, we expected a few pimples and most of our friends had a few too but when it persists in later years or rears it’s ugly head (pardon the pun) later in life it’s like “What? I should have been finished with this years ago!” Teenage acne can also be debilitating and treatment often follows similar principals.
Acne can be caused by hormones, stress, certain medications and medical conditions and also by too much heavy make-up, called Acne “cosmedica”. Thank goodness for mineral makeup. Much adult acne is hormonal and indeed hormone regulation can often be part of the treatment approach. Everybody makes male hormones and sometimes if there is an excess of them, acne can result. Anti-androgen medications including the combined oral contraceptive can be helpful in this regard. Keep in mind not all acne is hormonal. A proper assessment by your doctor is important to work out the cause and tailor treatment accordingly. Sometimes antibiotics are required if the acne is very inflamed and infected. If the acne is cystic and regular treatments fail, I am not opposed to referring patients to a dermatologist for consideration of oral vitamin A derivatives.
In terms of skin care and cosmeceuticals, there are a few key products that can be very helpful.
Vitamin A derivatives are king. They stop the skin cells lining the hair follicle from being on overdrive with increased turnover and shedding, which clogs the pores. They also treat fine lines by stimulating collagen, so you get two actions at once. Start low and go slow with vitamin A as they can be irritating at first and some formulations are more irritating than others. Not to be used if pregnant or breast-feeding. A zinc oxide sunscreen is also a good idea. I recommend the Synergie A+ serum at night with Uberzinc for during the day.
Vitamin B helps regulate sebum production and helps restore balance to the dermis so that it learns to hydrate itself without feeling greasy.
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, especially salacylic acid are great for getting rid of the dead skin cells that clog the pores and brightening a complexion. Synergie Practitioner Exfol –X is my go-to for problem skin.
Not overdrying the skin is really important. Sometimes people feel their skin is dirty and use harsh chemicals to get a clean feel, but this is counter productive and disturbs the natural balance of the skin, leaving it dry and inflamed. Never use soaps. In fact the lighter the cleanser the better. A light non-comedogenic moisturiser can sometimes be helpful if the skin is dry yet inflamed. Synergie ‘Hydrogel’ is excellent.
The youtube clip below is a great explanation of how Synergie cosmeceuticals can help acne. Don’t suffer in silence. See your GP or dermatologist to explore your options.