Adult Acne: What Causes It and How to Cure It

We all want to hold onto our youth, but what we will happily let go of is the unpredictability of adolescent skin. Acne used to be associated with teenagers, but now is a condition that is becoming more common in adults.

It can be just as embarrassing and frustrating to deal with as an adult, but there could be more factors in your life that are causing the breakouts.

What is acne?

Acne develops when dead skin cells and your skin’s natural oils block the hair follicles in your skin. Bacteria enter the blocked follicles and start multiplying.

When your immune cells try to defend themselves against the bacteria, the aftereffects are the classic symptoms of acne: redness, swelling and spots.

What causes adult acne?

There are many causes of adult acne. The main contributors are:

Stress
This causes a rise in hormones which stimulates the glands in your skin that secrete oily matter (also known as sebum).

All dried up
Although oily skin is a trigger for acne, you have to be careful that you do not remove too much oil and make your skin too dry. It’s a vicious circle, but stripping your skin of essential oils could equate to your gland’s going into overdrive to bring your skin’s oil level back into balance. This overdrive causes your skin to create too much oil.

Chemicals and toxins
Chemical-based ingredients found in some skin care products can irritate the skin, and this will cause inflammation leading to acne.

Lifestyle
Yep, we all knew this was coming. Late nights full of alcohol and those cheat meals consisting of every takeaway you can imagine are going to have an effect on the state of your skin.

Sweaty behaviour
Whether you are on the beach, on a sun-bed or in the gym, sweat can clog pores and provoke breakouts.

Bodybuilding
Leading on from sweating in the gym, we can at diet. Increase in calorie intake leads to your body responding by increasing androgen (male hormone) production. This is why acne may flare up when you gain weight.

Burn, baby, burn!
Men in general are less inclined to wear sun cream. After all, when was the last time you applied sun cream all over your body? Never? Don’t need to? Yeah, I thought so. Sunburn is damaging to the skin and can bite back with acne in the two weeks following exposure.

Anabolic steroids
These steroids are used to boost sports performance and increase muscle mass which can make acne breakouts much harder to manage. The unnatural levels of hormones entering the body can have a long-lasting effect, and can increase the difficulty of clearing the acne up.

How to deal with acne

Being male and having acne is not easy. Unlike women, you’re probably not going to try covering up your skin with make-up but there are some things that can help:

Shaving
No, I’m not about to suggest growing and hiding behind a beard. Shaving can aggravate the skin and you have to be extra careful that you don’t shave the top of pimples off. If you are finding that your razor blade is aggravating your skin, try an electric alternative to see if that helps. If you have severe inflammatory acne or if shaving seems to make it worse, than you can try a beard trimmer.

Omega 3
Found in oily fish and certain nuts such as brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts. Omega-3 can help to drastically reduce the inflammation for acne sufferers and you may find that your skin is less likely to break out.

Over the counter treatments
You do not need to stay up until 3am when the celebrity-endorsed spot treatment adverts come to life. Topical Creams containing the same ingredients such as retinoid or benzoyl peroxide are readily available over the counter in pharmacies.

Keep it clean
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser morning and night. This will help remove dead skin cells and other excess debris that can clog your pores.

Prescription medications
Your GP will also be able to prescribe you medication that can such as Tetracycline, Lymecycline and Erythromycin to name a few.

Dermatologist
If you have already tried prescription medications, you could also look into your GP referring you to a dermatologist who will be able to explore more specialist medications such as Roaccutane.(GQ)

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