Adult acne treatments will help you to get rid of those acne spots on your face and body. The main strategy of treatment is to go to the root of the problem. This simply means that you have to address the cause or the trigger factor that could have given rise to this skin condition.
As an adult, if you develop acne, you need not, therefore, go into gloomy despair. However, you have to be patient and persist with the treatment. It takes time.
And be assured, there is no treatment that can 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 and teen acne differences
Treating adult acne differs slightly from the treatment of acne in the teens because in adults, the acne is 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 appears in a T-shaped manner on the face It is seen on the forehead, nose, and around the mouth. Adult acne appears in a V-shaped fashion. They will be seen on the jawline and around the mouth.
Teenage acne appears 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 is 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 is 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 treating adult acne consist of skin hygiene, topical creams for local application, and oral medicines.
The aim of the treatment is to control the proliferation of acne, prevent scarring, and hide any scars if present.
Initially, you could try the skincare tips and use of the over-the-counter (OTC) topical application creams at home. If, after 3 to 4 months, you do not see any improvement, you should see a skin specialist (dermatologist).
The dermatologist will prescribe local application creams, oral medicines, and some advice on local hygiene.
Follow these skincare hygiene tips at home
- Wash your face gently but thoroughly twice or thrice a day with mild acne soap. You could use a sonic cleansing machine once a day. This will help prevent your skin pores from getting clogged. Exfoliate once a week using a soft sponge and mild soap.
- Use a noncomedogenic moisturizer, sunscreen or makeup on your face. Noncomedogenic 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.
- Use 2.5% benzoyl peroxide if you have oily skin. It comes in a lotion or gel form. You should apply it to all skin areas that are acne-prone and not just on the acne spots. Acne-prone areas include the forehead, between the eyebrows, ears, mouth, nose, cheeks, chin, neck, and the back.
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 that 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 acne bacteria.
- Oral contraceptives pills are also 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. Blocking the action of the androgen hormones blocks the excessive secretion of sebum.
- 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.