6 steps for treating acne in adulthood, according to a skin therapist
Acne can often be overlooked as a problem specific only to teenagers.
But the skin condition can affect people throughout their 20s and 30s, and in some cases, even well into their 40s.
Of the women who suffer with acne in adulthood, 80 percent will have had persistent acne since adolescence. The remaining 20 percent enjoyed clear skin during adolescence before without warning, developing breakouts for the first time in their 20s.
There are many reasons why acne develops in later life, but most commonly it is due to excess androgen hormones stimulating the oil glands in the skin.
All acne starts when there is a build-up of dead cells and an increase of oil in the pores. It's here that C. acne bacterium feeds on the build-up which causes inflammation, eventually leading to the redness and raised skin we call acne.
To mark Acne Awareness Month, Irish skin therapist Eavanna Breen has provided a handy how-to guide on dealing with the skin condition for the first time.
The founder of Dublin's Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic, Eavanna knows only too well the damage acne can do - not only to a person's skin, but also to their self-esteem.
While each case of acne is unique and some treatments and interventions won't work for everybody, Eavanna suggests the following six steps for those who have discovered acne outbreaks long after their teenage years.
1. Consider topical solutions
The first step to helping to treat acne in adulthood is with topical solutions. Ingredients like salicylic acid, vitamin A, niacinamide, benzol peroxide and tea tree oil are good places to start.
2. Use appropriate skincare
Using the correct skincare products, combined with clinical treatments such as chemical peels, LED light therapy and laser, can work very well for treating acne in many cases.
3. Check the diet
According to Eavanna, there is limited research to show that diet has a significant effect on acne, but there is some evidence to suggest that a high GI diet, sugar and dairy products can be a catalyst factor for some people.
4. Manage stress
Stress can cause inflammation in the body which can worsen pre-existing acne.
Stress can also increase the levels of cortisone in the body, which can have a knock on effect increasing oil production in the skin.
Finding a stress management technique that works is important to tackling acne. This could include taking up yoga, practicing mindfulness, and of course, regular exercise.
5. Get rested
Getting sufficient sleep is vital for healthy skin says Eavanna.
During the night, skin has its own circadian rhythm whereby it regenerates, heals and repairs itself. These process do not take place if people do not get adequate sleep.
6. Visit the GP
Acne can be incredibly difficult to manage, so if none of the above steps are working, you aren't the only one.
Eavanna says that if acne shows no sign of improving after a number of weeks, or if it seems to be getting worse, a visit to the GP should be the next step.
There is no cure for acne at the moment, but successful treatment options include the oral contraceptive, oral antibiotics or isotretinoin capsules.
Eavanna Breen reopened Akina Beauty and Laser clinic on Monday June 29 in line with Phase Three. Bookings are now available.