Tuesday, May 03, 2016
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Adult Acne

Usually between the ages of 18 to 20 teenage acne begins to clear. However, according to the International Dermal Institute and the American Academy of Dermatology, 40 to 55% of adults from age 20 to 40 still suffer from – or develop - acne type breakouts!

Adult acne is very different from teenage acne:

  • Adult onset acne is not necessarily associated with excess oiliness. Even adults with dry or combination skin can develop acne and it is often accompanied by dehydration.
  • Stress hormones (like cortisol) contribute to adult breakouts.
  • It tends to be more inflammatory in nature.
  • There is often increased sensitivity to the skin.
  • Adult acne is slower to heal, it lasts longer, and there is a greater likelihood of dark spots left behind (these spots are called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, (or PIH).
  • Usually in adults, the jaw line, chin, and lower half of the face are affected.

While stress is often the primary trigger for acne, there are four main factors that contribute to the development of acne: overactive sebaceous (oil) glands, dead skin cell accumulation, bacteria, and inflammation. The oil and dead skin cells can build up, causing an impaction plug (a whitehead or blackhead) and bacteria thrives under these conditions.

Surprisingly, it is only recently that science has fully understood the mechanism behind adult acne and how to treat it. All too often, parents resort to using their teenager’s acne products, which only causes additional problems, like dehydration, flaking skin, irritation, sensitivity, and even more breakouts!

What can you do to prevent or minimize acne type breakouts?

Address the Stress in your life. Yoga, exercise, breathing techniques, massage, and meditation may be beneficial for lowering cortisol levels.

Slow Down! On-the-run lifestyles can cause us to eat poorly and this can be a further trigger for acne.

Use High Quality Skin Care Products and Make-up. Skin Care products are most effective when prescribed by a Skin Care Therapist and mineral make-ups can actually be healing to the skin. Avoid artificial color and fragrance, mineral oil, lanolin, formaldehyde, and SD alcohol – ingredients that are found in many skin care products and make-up, as these can clog pores and irritate the skin.

Avoid Unconscious Habits like touching your face or picking blemishes which can spread the bacteria and cause inflammation. Also be aware of things that come in contact with your face during the day, like the phone/cell phone. Head sets are a good idea if you spend a lot of time on the phone.

Avoid Harsh Scrubs. Instead, opt for gentle exfoliation using hydroxy acids or enzymes. Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid, is preferable because it actually gets down into pores and removes dead skin cells from the inside out.

Avoid Squeezing Blackheads and Whiteheads. If done improperly this can spread the infection causing scarring, pitting, or brown spots.

Never, Never, Never go to bed with make-up on!

Every night and every morning:
  • Cleanse, (using a skin appropriate cleansing solution)
  • Treat (apply formulations that help treat acne),
  • Protect (condition the skin and follow with a water-based moisturizer).

The skin enters a natural regeneration, and detoxification cycle beginning about 10pm. This is why good skin care is vital at night. If you are too tired to cleanse your face before bed, try doing your routine earlier in the evening.

Toxins are eliminated directly through the skin during the night making it just as important to practice good skin care in the morning.

If you tend to break out around your hairline, or in your ears, you may not be rinsing your shampoo thoroughly.

Blackheads around the lip are usually related to artificial colors in lip gloss, lip liner, or lipstick.

Milia (small, hard white bumps) around the eyes, may be caused by eye make-up or eye makeup removers.

Dirt and residue from hair products can build up on pillow cases, so wash pillow cases frequently.

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners can leave residue on pillow cases that may not be good for your skin either, whether or not you suffer from breakouts.


Myth: Acne is caused by poor hygiene so scrubbing the skin and washing frequently with soap and hot water is best.

Fact: Absolutely NOT! Aggressive scrubbing or heavy washing can in fact irritate the skin and spread acne. Instead, gentle cleansing twice a day is usually all that is needed. Avoid soaps which are harsh and drying to the skin and choose a pH balanced, water-based cleanser. Use lukewarm water, never hot!

Myth: There is nothing that can be done to clear up acne so you just have to let it run it’s course.

Fact: With the information, and products available today, there is no reason anyone has to endure acne or be left with acne scarring. While there is no “cure” for acne yet, it can be treated effectively.

Myth: The sun will clear up acne.

Fact: In the short run, that may appear to be true. However, in reality those UV rays are damaging and irritating skin and in the long run this kind of trauma to the skin can make acne worse, intensify post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and lead to premature aging and increased risk for skin cancer.

Use Professional Skin Care to Treat, Clear, and Prevent Adult Acne

To successfully treat, clear and prevent acne, the cascade of events leading to acne development must be addressed: we must regulate the oil glands, promote exfoliation to help shed dead skin cells, kill bacteria and soothe inflammation.

Fortunately, skin care formulations used to treat these conditions have improved enormously. Important ingredients to look for include:

  • Salicylic Acid which, along with Lactic Acid, Sulfur, and Papain, digests dead surface cells, helps clear pores and prevent impactions (slowing bacterial growth).
  • Rosemary, Sulfur, and Benzoyl Peroxide are great for spot treating breakouts.
  • Balm Mint, Zinc Gluconate, Tea Tree, Cinnamon Bark Extract, and Spirea stimulate the skin’s naturally antibacterial peptides.
  • Kaolin, Bentonite, and Diotomaceous Earth absorb excess oil.
  • Nordihydroguiaretic acid helps to keep pores clear.
  • Niacinimide, Yeast Extract, Horse Chestnut, Zinc Gluconate, Caffeine, Sarcosine, Biotin, and Enantia Bark work synergistically to regulate oil production.
  • Oats, Licorice, Zinc Sulfate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Bisabolol, Menthol, Milk Thistle, and Spirea are agents that help to calm and heal inflamed skin.
  • Japanese Unshiu, Citrus, and Rice Extracts help to even skin tone.

Call to schedule your complementary Skin Analysis • 360-378-4250

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