Adult acne is on the rise and according to the International Dermal Institute 54% of adults over 25 still get some form of facial acne with 78% of women suffering from pre menstrual acne or breakouts.One of the main factors that has been associated with this rise in adult acne is chronic stress which triggers our hormones to create more oil, bacteria and inflammation.
In our high tech, time pressed society, balancing our working and private life has never been higher and this constant delicate balancing act means that our body is continually on alert with stress being the result. This constant state of stress can become chronic which affects our adrenal glands. With an increase of adrenal gland stimulation comes an increase in oil production and this can be the catalyst for adult acne. Any hormonal disruption can be a catalyst for acne and if you suffered from genetic acne as a teenager you may be more susceptible to acne as a adult.
Overactive oil glands then combine with dead cell build up, bacteria and inflammation to create pimples, blackheads and inflamed lesions commonly found around the mouth, chin and jaw area in adult acne. This condition can be more persistent than teenage acne and can become increasing frustrating to any sufferer.
Dermalogica have long understood that adult acne and breakouts are different to teenage pimples and have developed a range of Medibac Clearing® products that deal specifically with the needs of an adult acne sufferer. These target specific products contain key ingredients like Niacinnamide and Yeast Extract to reduce oil activity and Salicylic Acid, Sulfar and Papain to reduce skin cell build up. To control bacteria, Benzoyl Peroxide, Tea Tree and Spiraea Ulmaria Extract are used and soothing Green Tea, Panthenol along with Oat Extract help to calm any inflammation.
If an increase in stress and hormones, oil production, bacteria and inflammation are the winning combination for breakouts, then it makes sense that your health and wellness along with a targeted skin care routine is key to a clear and healthy skin.
Here are our top tips for treating adult acne:
Cleanse it, don't strip it.
Cleansing is one of the most important parts of your skin care regime and is even more crucial if you suffer from breakouts. If you use make up to cover your breakouts, then it’s critical to double cleanse. My suggestion is to use Dermalogica’s PreCleanse followed by Medibac Clearing Skin Wash, a foamy cleanser designed especially for breakouts. All Dermalogica cleansers are Ph balanced, which means they won't strip the skins delicate acid mantle. If your breakouts are confined to one area, use the Medibac Clearing Skin Wash over the breakouts and your usual Dermalogica Cleanser on the non-breakout areas. When using the Clearing Skin Wash, always use lots of water to foam it which avoids your skin feeling dry and tight. The Clearing Skin Wash also comes in a travel size and is perfect if you just want to use it during pre menstrual breakouts times (around day 14 of your cycle). If oil and congestion is more your problem, try Special Cleansing gel mixed with some Dermal Clay Cleanser. This combo will help to regulate oil whilst providing your skin with a cooling soothing effect.
Remember to use a gentle light touch when cleansing around any pimples and breakouts that are inflamed or infected. Always rinse really well to ensure there is no trace of cleanser left on the skin. Ensure your cleansing sponges are super clean or use disposable cleansing cloths to avoid the spread of bacteria. Keeping clean also means wiping your phone, keyboard, changing your pillowcases regularly and avoiding touching your face constantly.
Choose a sleepover product
Try the Overnight Clearing Gel which used at night will help to treat breakouts by reducing oil and skin cell build up in the pores. Apply a thin film over the affected areas at night time. At high risk times of breakouts, try the Sebum Clearing Masque mixed with the Overnight Clearing Gel to help ease the symptoms.
Exfoliation is also key to keeping your skin clear. Research shows that the normal keratinisation process in an acne skin is affected by an increase of skin cells and poor cell detachment, which leads to impactions in the follicle. The aim is to help promote clearing with regular exfoliation. The Medibac range of products contain ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid which are excellent to remove dead cell build up whilst maintaining hydration which is important for a healthy skin.
Use a targeted masque like the Sebum Clearing Masque up to 3 times a week. This clay based masque is like giving your skin a deep clean to help cool, refine and purify your skin. Hydration is also extremely important to an inflamed skin, so try the Skin Hydrating Masque which will provide cooling and moisture benefits.
Zap the zits
Dermalogica have developed a few specific products to spot treat breakouts. The Special Clearing Booster is spot treatment that contains Benzoyl Peroxide. Designed to use directly on actual pimples and breakout problem areas only and not all over the skin, this product can be reapplied every 6 -8 hours to peel and heal pimples. Breakout Control is like an invisible gel formula that will help to clear skin and can be used under your moisturiser on breakout areas. As a final tip, try the Oil Control Lotion with a small amount of Special Clearing Booster which you can use all over or isolated where needed.
Hydrate and protect
Just because you have breakouts, you still need to hydrate and protect your skin every day. For breakouts and excess oily areas on your skin, try the Oil Control Lotion which is oil free, hydrating and light textured. To protect your skin from UV and hyper pigmentation use the Oil Free Matte spf30 which is also oil free. This broad-spectrum sunscreen can be applied instead of a moisturiser or applied after your moisturiser. Hydrate your skin by using Multi Active Toner and if your skin is inflamed, healing and calming are going to be a top priority and this is where the Ultracalming range of products will be useful to approach the inflammation first.
The temptation to squeeze a whitehead pimple is hard to avoid, but in the interest of skin health it’s important not to squeeze. Squeezing can cause the spread of bacteria, increase inflammation and will impact healing time. Some skins are also more prone and highly susceptible to scarring and hyperpigmentation. Long after the pimple has gone, the effects of hyperpigmentation and scarring can prove more difficult to treat than the original pimple in the first place!
Supplement your skin
You may want to supplement and boost you skin healing with vitamins and good foods. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants are good for the skin. Salmon for example, contains omega 3’s and berries are a rich source of antioxidants. Vitamin C is good for collagen repairing and Zinc is also going to be another important nutrient as it helps with healing. Spinach is a good food choice for zinc and there are many supplements on the market to choose from. There are of course many other whole foods that contain these beneficial nutrients, so choose wisely and remember variety and freshness when it comes to your daily food choices. Drink plenty of water and minimise you caffeine and alcohol intake. When it comes to inner health, there’s a real buzz around gut health and the skin. Balancing your digestive health is important and there are now many supplements available that can help improve your gut health. I personally like the Beauty Chef's range of inner health products that are designed to increase healthy gut flora for better skin. As always, seek professional advice before embarking on any new diet or supplement regime.
Stress is a major contributor of adult acne, so try to incorporate destress elements into your lifestyle. The effects of stress can deplete oxygen and make you feel more tired so get out and about for some fresh air. Choose to fit in more of your favourite activity or try meditation, yoga and simply take time out for yourself. Turn off your “screen” at least half an hour before bed and remove phones from where you sleep. Finally, essential oils like Lavender, Geranium and Bergamot are great to use in a relaxing bath or made into a mist spray for your bedroom to invite a good night’s sleep.
Do you have an acne question for us or need a personalised consultation? Call or email one of our Prodermal therapists who can answer your specific question or give you some clearing acne tips - no matter how big or small your question may be, we can help you to get your skin back on track.
Yours in skin,
The Prodermal Team X
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