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As you get older, there are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to your skin. Lines, wrinkles, loss of collagen and volume, sun spots and discolouration—the list goes on. So, it’s a real bummer when acne is also something you have to worry about, especially since most of us thought we left that particular skin issue behind in high school. To learn a little more about why adult acne exists, and how to treat it as an adult, we spoke to Gabriela Madrid, Biologique Recherche expert at Visage Clinic in Toronto.
Inside Visage Clinic Toronto
Edit Seven: What causes adult acne?
Gabriela Madrid: “Acne is caused by an excessive production of sebum (oil) and bacteria build up,” says Madrid—and this is true for adults and teens. But, the reason why you have excessive sebum and bacteria can be different. Acne in adults can be triggered by everything from stress and hormonal changes to dehydration, diet and over-exfoliation. Basically, there’s a lot that can cause your skin to freak out and the key is all about keeping the balance of oil and bacteria just right.
Edit Seven: What ingredients help with acne?
Gabriela Madrid: We know there are some tried and true ingredients that tend to help reduce inflammation, combat bacteria and heal the skin, all of which will help with any acne flare-ups. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid (a BHA that is a chemical exfoliant), glycolic acid (an AHA and another great exfoliator), retinoids (although used widely for anti-aging they started as effective acne treatment), benzoyl peroxide (helps to reduce bacteria) and hyaluronic acid (which helps to moisturize without adding excess oil).
The Best Anti-Acne Treatments For Grown-Ass Women:
As a teen you may have relied on home remedies and drug store purchases to keep your skin in check, but, now that you likely pay a bit more attention (and a bit more money) on your skin-care routine, it’s time to opt for anti-acne treatments that are a bit more advanced. Here are a few things that can help combat acne (alongside your robust skin-care routine of course) as an adult.
Light therapy is becoming more and more popular for treating acne, and even accessible brands like Neutrogena have mass-retailed products designed to treat acne with light therapy. How does it work? Different wavelengths of light can target the skin in different ways, stimulating collagen production, helping with pigmentation and yes, even preventing or treating acne. Most light therapy treatments designed for acne-prone individuals use a combination of red and blue light. The red helps decrease inflammation and heal wounds and the blue kills acne-causing bacteria. This is also a great option if you want to target multiple issues in your skin, like fine lines or discolouration too.
Laser treatments are often used for anti-aging but they are also great at targeting acne scars or discolouration caused by old wounds. But, lasers can also be used to target breakouts as they happen too—the light can target and destroy the bacteria that causes acne.
You can get a cortisone shot to treat cystic acne (the more painful pimples that are under the skin), but it’s recommended that you only use this method of treatment as an emergency option. Not only is it inconvenient to go to a dermatologist every time you get a zit, there are some side effects (scarring, dips in your skin) that can happen when you rely on the shots for acne treatment.
Madrid recommends opting for facials that feature light therapy, such as the Forever Young BBL treatment at Visage Clinic. It is similar to IPL and treats a wide range of skin issues including acne with broadband light. Another facial option to consider are chemical peels. Chemical peels cause the outer skin layer to peel and slough away bringing the layers underneath to the surface. But always speak to a professional before opting for any in-office or heavy handed treatments when you have an active breakout.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Alexandra Donaldson)