Fitness Facts: Adult onset acne
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Ever find yourself wondering why you suddenly developed acne in adulthood? Isn’t acne for teenagers?
Actually, it is more common in adults than you think.
A study examining the prevalence of acne in adults over age 20 found that acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 29 and more than 25 percent of women in the 40-49 age range. The study found a disproportionate number of adult women were affected by acne compared to men of a similar age.
What could be the cause?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one or more of the following six areas may be the culprit.
- Fluctuating hormone levels: Outbreaks are most common around their periods, during pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause, and after discontinuing or starting birth control pills.
- Stress: During times of stress, our bodies produce more of a hormone called androgens. Androgens stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which in turn leads to acne.
- Family history: Some people who have a close blood relative with a history of acne, such as a parent, brother or sister, are more prone to getting acne themselves.
- Hair and skin care products: Check these product labels. If one of these terms are on the label, the product is not as likely to cause acne:
- Won’t clog pores
- Side effects from medication: If you think you are on a medication that is causing acne, continue to take the medication but talk to the health care provider who prescribed it. Do not ever discontinue a medication without the advice of your doctor.
- Undiagnosed medical condition: Sometimes acne can be associated with an undiagnosed medical condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, problems with circulation or a thyroid condition. If you are noticing additional changes in your health, consult with your primary care provider. Once these conditions are discovered and treated, the acne usually resolves.
Also, it is good to note that some of the treatments that worked well as a teenager no longer work as an adult.
It is advised to give the over-the-counter products a try first. If those are ineffective, seek the care of a board-certified dermatologist for further treatment.
Next week, I will discuss common over-the-counter treatments, skin care and the role food may play.