Surprisingly, many adults continue to experience acne beyond their teen & young adult years. For many, it can be embarrassing and even debilitating.
While a sudden onset of adult acne can signal an underlying systemic condition or disease, the causes of adult acne are most often similar to the teen years when hormonal fluctuations produce excessive oil and clog the pores. Once clogged with this excessively sticky substance the pores can become inflammed and infected causing painful red swellings.
Women tend to experience more hormonal fluctuations throughout their adult years as they navigate pregnancy, breast feeding, menstruation and/or menopause, and are therefore more likely to experience adult acne flare ups.
The same skincare disciplines that are important for healthy teen skin are also important for adults experiencing acne;
- cleanse effectively before bed (and remove makeup)
- exfoliate to increase cell turnover and remove dead skin cells which clog the pores
- avoid high oil products (and ideally look for products with high linoleic acid oils to balance the oleic acid oils in the sebum)
- avoid skincare products with high oil content or toxic/synthetic ingredients
Beyond your daily skincare routine there are other effective ways to avoid and/or minimise adult acne taking over your life.
Stress has a big impact on skin health and acne, as excessive production of the stress hormone cortisol can cause hormonal imbalances. Similarly, some medications such as steroids and antidepressants can increase the risk of adult acne.
Physical stressors such as pollution, smoking, poor sleep, dehydration and environmental irritants can also increase the risk of adult onset acne.
Another way we can positively impact our skin health and minimise the risk factors for poor skin in our adult years is our diet. A study of 80,000 children, adolescents and young adults showed a definitive link between dairy and acne as dairy contains hormones that stimulate oil glands.
A diet that minimises hormonal spikes and inflammation is also an effective strategy for skin health. Fresh, organic fruit and vegetables such as kale, spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and oranges help keep hormones in balance and fight inflammation. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium which protects against free radicals. Foods that are high in zinc help keep hormones in balance, and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation.
If you have further questions regarding your skin health, or specifically on adult acne, please contact us, or grab a copy of our paperback "Living Well & Ageing Gracefully" available here for $29.95.