Maybe you thought that, once you hit 20, zits and blackheads would be left by the school bus stop curb, along with your favorite pair of bell-bottoms and your scrunchy collection. Well, now you (and hopefully your sense of style) have matured, but those nasty blemishes still haven’t been 86’d. In fact, they’ve matured as much as you have, migrating from your forehead and cheeks down to your jawline and neck.
Yes, adult acne is very real, and more common than you might think. Don’t think you’re the only one who’s sneaking into your daughter’s shower basket for that zit zapping cream. In fact, adult acne affects 25% of adult men and upwards of 50% of women. But before you go rushing to the facial aisle at the drugstore, there are some things you should know about adult acne.
So What’s the Deal?
If you had acne as a teen, you are likely to see it resurface, due to your genetic makeup, but with some differences. When you were in your teens, acne was accompanied by oily skin, but now your hormones have settled down and you’re finding yourself with dry or combination skin.
Blackheads and whiteheads have been replaced with redder bumps and cysts. These bumps lay deeper and stay red longer because the skin doesn’t heal as rapidly. Hormones still play a part in oil production, and if your hormones seem to fluctuate, you’re probably more likely to break out around the time of your period, when you’re pregnant, and when you find yourself reaching menopause.
What Can You Do About It?
Acne isn’t just triggered by hormones. There are other things you can do to help reduce the effects. First, take a moment and recount everything you put on your face on a daily basis. If you’re worried about acne, you’re probably using an acne-fighting cleanser, but maybe you’re also using a toner to treat blemishes, a spot cleaner, and a concealer containing oil-fighting salicylic acid.
Stop right there! The more you overwork your face, the worse breakouts are going to get. All of these products are attempting to cleanse the blemish by wiping out dirt and grime. But when you do too much, you are depleting your natural oil reserves; making your skin dry and irritated. This irritation leads to more breakouts as your skin tries to produce more oil to quench its thirst.
Adult skin is more fragile and dry, making it less capable of handling harsh cleansing agents. Heavy moisturizers and wrinkle creams aren’t helping either, as they only further clog pores. Some of the best dermatologists recommend nothing more than a simple bar of soap and a light moisturizer.
But It’s Not Just What You Put On Your Face That Affects Your Complexion
Diet and nutrition play a huge role in your skin’s appearance. Think about it this way – your skin regenerates about every 28 days, and it’s using the nutrients you feed it to rebuild itself. So, what are you feeding it? If you answered potato chips or candy bars, we have a problem.
The natural ingredients in food can help to speed skin cell turnover and fight blemishes and wrinkles. A diet high in fruit, veggies, healthy fats (the kind found in nuts and oils) and proteins will give your skin a healthy glow, making it look younger and less likely to breakout.
Some studies show that sugar, especially refined sugar, can contribute to acne production as well. And let’s not forget about water. If you’re dehydrated, one of the first places it will show is on your face. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin supple and soft.
What It Boils Down To
At the end of the day, if you’re staying up late and stressing over that presentation you have to give at work, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Stress and sleep deprivation are two of the most common factors in acne production that often go overlooked.
The best recipe for glowing skin is a simple skin care regimen, a well balanced diet, a lot of water and a little relaxation.