As any aesthetic physician knows, acne can be an issue for patients ranging from their 20s through their 60s. But in contrast to teenage acne, adult acne poses unique challenges in terms of treatment due to differences between teenage and adult skin.
Regardless of age, all acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations. For teens, acne appears as hormones begin to surge and stimulate the oil glands. In adult women, acne outbreaks are associated with the hormonal changes associated with monthly menstrual cycles and the onset of menopause, which also impact oil production within the sebaceous glands.
Stress is another significant cause of acne, especially in adults. Work stress, financial pressure, and family obligations all contribute to the release of adrenal gland hormones, which prompt the oil glands to secrete more oil. With more oil present, P. acnes bacteria can thrive, inflammation sets in, and acne becomes problematic.
The main difference between teenage and adult acne is in the skin itself. The oilier nature of teenage skin makes it more tolerant of acne treatments that can be too drying for more mature skin. When adults with acne are concerned about visible signs of aging as well, adding hydration to the skin is a primary goal, and this makes some acne treatments inappropriate.
The ideal acne treatment with anti-aging benefits is a combination of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). These acids improve acne symptoms by melting the bonds between skin cells, allowing them to gently slough off instead of clogging the pores. In terms of anti-aging, AHAs and BHAs are wonderful for improving excess pigment, fine lines and wrinkles while they stimulate new epidermal cells, thicken the skin and make the skin look more youthful. SkinMedica’s 15% AHA/BHA Cream features the optimal concentration of these acids in a moisturizing base, making it ideal for adult acne sufferers.
Salicylic acid is another common anti-acne ingredient with anti-aging benefits. Found in SkinMedica’s Purifying Foaming Wash and Purifying Toner, salicylic acid works well for adult acne because it removes excess oil from the skin and gently exfoliates without being too drying. Adult acne sufferers with oily skin can usually tolerate a benzoyl peroxide product to reduce bacteria and absorb excess sebum, and SkinMedica Acne Treatment Lotion utilizes an advanced microparticle delivery system that enhances absorption while minimizing irritation.
Skincare products are often the first line of defense against acne at any age, but more stubborn cases may require additional treatments. Regular chemical peels have both an acne-clearing and anti-aging effect, and SkinMedica offers an array of in-office peel products that range from superficial to deep. For more cystic, inflamed acne, oral antibiotics, spironolactone and Accutane are extremely effective for skin clearing, but the appropriate treatment depends on the patient.
Every patient needs to know the importance of diligent sun protection, but it’s even more imperative for anyone who is exfoliating regularly or using anti-acne ingredients since they can cause an increased sensitivity to the sun. SkinMedica Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ helps prevent sun-induced signs of aging with superior UVA and UVB protection, and its oil-free base will not exacerbate acne.