Adult acne can appear suddenly.

Effective Acne Treatments for Adults

Although most of us are familiar with the effects of acne, we often consider it to be something we dealt with when we were younger, and assume our acne days are over when we reach adulthood. We never think we’ll be looking for effective acne treatment in our adult years, but it’s more common than you might think.

Adult acne is usually confined to the bottom area of the face, whereas teen acne can appear on the forehead, cheeks, and around the nose. Although adult acne is not considered a medically serious condition, it can be uncomfortable, so finding an effective acne treatment is crucial.

What is Acne?

Adults who managed to escape acne when they were young may be unfamiliar with the blackheads and whiteheads that typically make up an adult acne breakout.

Acne is a common inflammatory skin condition that occurs when pores and hair follicles become clogged. Sebum is the skin oil that helps keep skin from drying out. But an overabundance of sebum combined with dead skin cells can clog the pores and lead to lesions, commonly referred to as pimples or "zits." Acne breakouts are most often seen on the face but can also occur on the shoulders, back, and chest.

Reasons for Adult Acne

The fact that you suddenly develop acne after many years of having a clear complexion generally means that something is amiss with your metabolism or lifestyle. There are four main factors that contribute to acne breakouts after age 25. Overall, these are the same factors that cause adolescent acne, namely, excessively oily skin, skin cells clogging pores, bacterial growth, and inflammation.

Causes of these four factors include:

  • In women, the menstrual cycle and the hormones produced can affect oil production in the skin.
  • Stress caused by work, financial, and family pressures can be an underlying cause of adult acne breakouts.
  • Cosmetic products, such as for hair and skin, can also be a source of acne breakouts. Makeup is known to clog pores.
  • A change in diet can upset the body's chemical balance and cause an increase in oil production, leading to adult acne.

The main method of preventing blackheads and whiteheads from forming is to improve your skin hygiene to prevent pores and hair follicles from becoming clogged. There are several preliminary things you can try before you seek medical help.

  • When shopping for skincare and cosmetic products, always check the labels for the terms "oil-free," "won't clog pores," and "non-comedogenic," and confine your purchases to brands labeled as such.
  • Always remove makeup thoroughly before bed.
  • Reduce the amount of fried and fatty foods in your diet.

If these precautions don’t lessen your acne breakouts or improve their severity, you can try several professional acne treatments.

Effective Professional Acne Treatments

There are several modern medical acne treatments to remove blackheads and whiteheads and help prevent them from recurring.

Medicines and Topical Creams

After a skin examination, a dermatologist will prescribe one of four types of medicines or a combination of them as a preliminary course of treatment:

  1. Antibiotics work by killing skin bacteria and reducing inflammation and redness. Antibiotics are often paired with benzoyl peroxide. This helps reduce the chance of developing antibiotic resistance. Your dermatologist will likely prescribe oral antibiotics with benzoyl peroxide, as topical antibiotics aren’t recommended.
  2. Azelaic acid is a natural acid found in a type of yeast that has antibiotic properties. A cream or gel containing 20% azelaic acid used twice a day can be an effective acne treatment. Prescription azelaic acid is recommended during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
  3. Dapsone is recommended for women with inflammatory acne. A gel with 5% dapsone applied twice a day can be effective.
  4. Retinoids and similar drugs are often prescribed for moderate acne cases. They come as lotions, gels, and creams that are applied once a day in the evening, three times a week to start, then once a day when your skin becomes used to the treatment. They're often combined with antibiotic treatments.

If medicines and creams are not showing the desired results, your dermatologist has a number of other treatments they can use.

Acne Injections

A dermatologist can inject a diluted corticosteroid into an inflamed cyst, blackhead, or whitehead to reduce the size of the inflammation and make it flatten out faster. This treatment is generally reserved for particularly tender and swollen acne nodules that are not responding to other treatments.

Laser Treatments

Acne laser treatments are particularly effective. ISOLAZ and Lux-V lasers are widely considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods to treat and cure acne in both young people and adults. Laser treatments remove the blackheads and whiteheads without causing scarring to the skin.

ISOLAZ lasers use Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and a gentle vacuum to effectively remove blackheads and whiteheads. It also helps prevent breakouts from recurring by cleaning your skin of excess sebum and bacteria. Lux-V lasers also use pulsed light to lessen the visibility of acne blemishes and improve your skin’s appearance.

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light therapy also cleans your skin of bacteria that can lead to acne breakouts. It’s a non-invasive form of phototherapy that can be effective in helping people with oily skin manage and prevent recurring blackheads and whiteheads.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are an optional treatment that can help boost the end results of other treatments. Dermatologists generally recommend them along with other treatments. These treatments have been effective for several decades and can help reduce scarring in severe cases of acne. The chemicals used in the peels are tolerated well by facial skin and are perfectly safe.

Visit Nirunda Clinic

If you’re concerned by recurring outbreaks of adult acne, make an appointment at Nirunda International Aesthetic Clinic in Bangkok. After an examination, we can provide a consultation outlining all the acne treatment options we have available for you. Get in touch today.