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What to Know About Adult Acne

 Close-up of Woman with Problems of acne on Her Face — New Bern, NC — East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC

When many people think of acne, they picture a teenager going through puberty and dealing with the effects of hormones. However, as many adults can tell you, acne can continue to plague you throughout your life. If you are sick of struggling with adult acne, keep reading to learn what you can do to improve your complexion.

Why Do Adults Get Acne?

Hormones are a common cause of acne amongst teenagers, and they may also cause acne in adults during menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum period, and breastfeeding. Similarly, adults with mental stress may have higher levels of cortisol, which increases the risk of acne. Physical stress may also lead to hormonal changes or immune changes that increase the risk of acne.

One of the leading causes of acne in adults is clogged pores. When your pores get clogged from dead skin cells they are no longer able to release oil and sweat. In some cases, these pores can also harbor bacteria. Once the bacteria start to form, the infection can’t always be cleaned because it stays hidden under the skin.

What Types of Acne Exist?

There are six types of acne that you may experience throughout your life. Whiteheads and blackheads are similar, and both are caused by clogged pores. Whiteheads look white and are closed comedones because the pore is closed. Blackheads look black and are open comedones because they have an open pore.

If a clogged pore mixes with bacteria, a papule may form. This is a small red bump on the skin that does not contain puss. A pustule, however, is a larger pore, and it is caused when a blocked pore becomes infected. Therefore, they do contain pus.

Nodules are deep, red or flesh-colored bumps that are caused by the C. acnes bacteria. It’s basically an infection deep in the pore. Depending on the size and depth, these may need to be drained by your doctor. Cysts are similar to nodules, but they are usually more severe, have pus, and are hard to treat.

Can You Prevent Acne?

There are many ways you can help prevent acne, but because there are so many causes, you might overlook a few preventative measures. One of the best ways to prevent acne is by keeping your face clean. This includes avoiding touching your face. Removing excess dirt, oil, and bacteria will go a long way in fighting irritation.

You’ll also want to stick with a healthy diet and lots of water. Foods with a high glycemic index tend to increase the risk of acne, so avoid white flours, baked goods, chips, etc. as often as possible. Other preventative measures include reducing stress, using moisturizer, avoiding the sun, and limiting makeup.

How Is Acne Treated?

Acne can be difficult to treat, and different types of acne need different treatments. Antibiotics, for example, may be recommended for severe acne that is caused by a bacterial infection. Other patients may do well with retinoids, which use retinoic acids or tretinoin to fight acne by preventing clogged hair follicles.

Salicylic acid is often found in over-the-counter face creams, but your dermatologist may also prescribe a higher dose. This type of treatment can also help prevent clogging. Both salicylic acid and retinoids may cause some skin irritation, and people who are pregnant should not take retinoids.

When treating your acne, never try to remove blemishes by popping them. This can push the infection deeper, or it can lead to an infection if your hands are dirty. Similarly, if you do pop a pus-filled or bacteria-filled pimple, it may simply spread the problem by infecting other pores.

No one wants to struggle with acne, but even adults may have unwanted blemishes caused by clogged pores, bacteria, and stress. If you would like to learn more, or if you want to schedule an appointment for your acne, contact us at East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC, today.

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