July is Acne Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to take a closer look at adult acne.

Women and men suffering in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s also suffer from acne breakouts.

The acne cycle is caused by hormones that prompt the oil glands to secrete oil; the pores get clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria cause the area to get inflamed, and then a pimple. Adult acne can be related to hormonal surges that occur with the menstrual cycle. Stress may also play a role with changes in cortisol that cause oil gland over secretion and acne.

There are suble differences between adult and teenage skin which may affect how we approach treating acne. As we get older, our skin gets drier, and we use gentler products.

The first step in clearing acne is to cleanse properly with a product designed for your skin type. Wash in the morning, at night and after exercise, but avoid washing too much and using harsh scrubs, which can actually make matters worse. If your skin is really dry and/or sensitive, use a cleanser geared towards sensitive skin. I like SkinMedica’s® Sensitive Skin Cleanser because it cleans without over drying the skin. If you’re on the oily side, try a salicylic acid wash, such as SkinMedica’s® Purifying Foaming Wash, to help gently and effectively exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores.

We like to pair these cleansers with the Clarisonic® Skin Care Brush to help deep clean acne prone skin without causing irritation. This device used sonic frequency to remove oil, dirt and debris from the skin, while gently exfoliating to keep pores clear. The Clarisonic® also leaves skin feeling smooth and soft and is a great addition for any skin type.

After cleansing, we must address the bacterial component of acne. Topical benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and either topical or oral antibiotics can help target this part of the acne puzzle.

Retinoids are essential for preventing blemish formation and minimizing breakouts. SkinMedica’s® Tri-Retinol Complex, which can be tolerated by most skin types and prevents whitehead and blackhead formation without causing redness and peeling, is good for adult acne.

Peels do not get enough attention in acne treatment. These are terrific for addressing both existing acne and the resultant scarring. Adult patients have seen rewarding results after a series of chemical peels or a glycolic peel.

Acne can have an effect on self esteem at any age.

Reference SkinMedica® Beauty Talk, Dr. Mona Foad.