Adult acne treatments will help you to get rid of those acne spots on your face and body. As an adult if you develop acne, you need not, therefore, go into a gloomy despair. However, you have to be patient and persist with the treatment. It takes time. And be assured, there is no treatment to get rid of adult acne overnight or in one day. Once it appears, it is there to remain for a long time and reappear after treatment in most cases.

Adult acne and teen acne differences

Treating adult acne differs very slightly from the treatment of acne in the teens because adult acne are more deep-seated, the skin cell turnover is less during adulthood than during teenage, and the skin becomes thinner as we age into adulthood. The skin during teenage is stickier than the skin seen in adults and this is more likely to clog the skin pores.

Teen acne appear in a T-shaped manner on the face It is seen on the forehead, nose and around the mouth. Adult acne appear in a V-shaped fashion. They will be seen on the jawline and around the mouth.

Teenage acne appear in large numbers as tiny bumps, whiteheads or blackheads. An occasional nodule or cyst may be seen on the chest or back. The adult acne are seen as nodules or papules, though tiny bumps may be seen but in lesser numbers.

Again adult acne is more common in women than in men, possibly due to hormonal variations in the body during pregnancy, perimenopausal and menopausal periods. Teen acne are more common in boys.

Adult Acne Treatments

Treatment of adult acne is similar to the treatment given for adolescent acne with very slight variations. Options in adult acne treatments consist of skin hygiene care tips, topical creams for local application and oral medicines. The aim of the treatment is to control the proliferation of acne, prevent scarring and to hide any scars, if present.

Initially, you could try the skin care tips and use of over-the-counter topical application creams at home. If, after 3 to 4 months, you do not see any improvement, you should see a skin specialist (dermatologist).

Follow these skin care hygiene tips at home

  • Wash your face gently but thoroughly twice or thrice a day with a mild acne soap. You could use a sonic cleansing machine once a day. This will help prevent your skin pores from getting clogged. excoriate once a week using a soft sponge and mild soap.
  • Moisturizer, sunscreen or makeup that you use on your face should be noncomedogenic. These creams or lotions do not block the skin pores thereby reducing the risk of acne. They are sometimes referred to as non-occlusive products. Before buying, check the label and use those products, which have the word “noncomedogenic” on their labels.

Topical OTC creams for adult acne

  • Apply a salicylic acid cream on the face once a day in the evening. Start with a 0.5% concentration initially. Once you know your skin can tolerate it, you could use a cream with a 2.0% concentration. Do not expose your skin to the sun after applying salicylic acid because it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
  • 2.5% benzoyl peroxide can be used by those who have an oily skin. This should be applied on all skin areas that are acne prone and not just on the acne spots.

Both the above topical applications are available over the counter and need no prescription. They work well on whiteheads and pustules but may leave much to be desired in the cure of the deeper seated adult acne. If the above home remedies have not worked even after 3 to 4 months, you should see your dermatologist, who will put you on prescription topical and oral medicines.

Prescription topical creams  for adult acne

  • A prescription cream containing retinoids is the first topical application of choice. Retinoid is derived from vitamin A and helps to open up the clogged skin pores.
  • Topical antibiotic cream such as dapsone 5% is an option, which helps kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation.
  • Your dermatologist may also prescribe a combination cream which contains benzoyl peroxide and a local acting antibiotic. Benzoyl peroxide will clear the skin pores and the antibiotic will control the inflammation.

Prescription oral medicines for adult acne

  • Oral antibiotics belonging to the tetracycline family such as oxytetracycline, doxycycline are the first choice. Erythromycin and trimethoprim are also effective against the acne bacteria.
  • Oral contraceptives may also be added in the treatment of women to regulate the hormonal fluctuations, which can trigger an acne breakout.
  • Spironolactone is also often prescribed. It blocks the action of the male sex hormone, androgen, which stimulates the excessive secretion of sebum causing the skin pores to get blocked.
  • Isotretinoin is a very effective drug in treating acne. It is reserved for the treatment of severe adult acne cases because of its potential side effects. They include ulcerative colitis, depression with increased risk of suicide and birth defects in the newborn, if used during pregnancy.

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