Kristina Holland-Natural Skin Shop’s skin savvy writer (& biggest fan!)
As if reaching your prime wasn’t difficult enough. Now, as an adult, you have the two-folded drama of combating both acne and wrinkles! If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, Natural Skin Shop can spare you a troubled face…and your adult grace!
Studies have revealed a recent spurge in the cases of post–adolescent acne in both men and women between the ages of 25 and 50. For women, the statistics are slightly higher (50%), while men tend to suffer less frequently from the condition (25%). Adult acne can debilitate an individual’s confidence (think big office meeting) and wreck havoc on your ability to appropriately address the signs of aging. What a pain in your adult reign!
THE PLAIN INSANE: WHY ME…WHY NOW?
You may have thought that acne was limited to the erratic, hormonally-imbalanced (and sometimes awkward) years of youth. Just when you thought you could retire the good ole’ brown paper bag, the ill-timed onset of adult acne introduces itself into your middle-aged life. Let’s look to the possible culprits and find a solution so you can go back to being a “grown-up” (whatever that means...).
*Cosmetic Acne: Your daily application, and most significantly re-application, of makeup could be creating an unhealthy proliferation of clogged pores, bacteria and irritation. Opt for products labeled non-comedogenic and non-acnegnic. To ensure your cosmetics remain bacteria-free, keep lids tightly closed and avoid direct heat and sunlight. This hygienic safety measure applies to any and all skin care products. Sharing cosmetics is also frowned upon for sanitary purposes. You may unintentionally acquire or “share” with another the bacteria behind acne’s unpopular presence (proprionobacterium acnes). Also, check the expiration date of your compact, foundation or blush to be sure your not applying makeup that’s been around since your teenage years!
*Stress: Tax season is approaching and the IRS may be to blame for your newly acquired problematic complexion. Okay…the IRS can’t be held accountable (pun intended) for everything gone-wrong; however, the stress associated with it can certainly take the blame. Embrace relaxation techniques (such as yoga) to decrease an excess of the stress hormone referred to as “cortisol”, which has been linked to both weight gain and acne.
*Hormones: Hormones are constantly fluctuating throughout the cycle of life particularly for women. Childbirth and menopause (particularly perimenopause) can create a temporary or long-term hormonal imbalance. Harsh acne treatments only make matters worse, and as a result, the problematic condition continues down a wayward path. Consult a physician to make sure your hormones are in check.
*The Glycemic Index: The good ole’ saying “you are what you eat” may not be too far off track when it comes to acne. No, it’s not the typical blame game involving chocolate and french-fries. Rather, a food that scores high on the glycemic index chart could ultimately surge your hormones (insulin). When insulin levels spike, so too does sebum production…and there you have an instant recipe for acne! Be wary of not only your sweet tooth, but also of hidden offenders such as complex carbohydrates in addition to sugary drinks and condiments.
PS: Even ketchup contains high-fructose syrup.
PSS: The necessary nutrient, iodine also stimulates the production of oil. To rule out this culprit, temporarily avoid iodine-rich foods such as kelp and egg yolks.
*Rosacea: Adult acne and rosacea are often times very closely related, so much so that they can go in hand and hand or are mistakenly confused for one another at times. Consult a physician if you suspect acne-rosacea. Clinical symptoms include a flushed appearance associated with inflamed pustules particularly after consuming spicy foods and liquor.
PS: Powdered cosmetics, such as loose foundations (i.e.: mineral makeup), are known to irritate rosacea conditions.
*Genetics: Thank your mom and dad for this one. Nature versus nurture is a frequent discussion throughout the psychological and dermatological community. Although, “nature” may have predisposed you to acne, “nurture” can alter the path of your skin’s destiny.
*New Allergies: Allergies, both internal and external, can develop late in age due to a compromised immune system, leaky gut syndrome or simply “just because”. For external protection, opt for a routine with minimal ingredients. The labels “hypoallergenic”, “allergy-tested”, “dermatologist-tested” and “all-natural” are highly misleading. A product may not have to undergo significant testing to be considered hypoallergenic. Likewise, a “hired” dermatologist could “assess” a product on a “select” group of individuals thereby not including a wide range of possible allergies. Also, all-natural is great, however, essentials oils can be the cause of many an allergic and acnegenic irritation. Think lavender, lemon, orange and …poison ivy! Ouch! Opt for sophisticated product formulations utilizing the best of science and nature.
*Damage (Radiation): Oh my…have the years flown by and now your once perfect skin is looking a bit drab, uneven, dull…and need I say…. full of acne breakouts. How could this be? The invincible years of youth may have left you blissfully unaware of the daily damage incurred by baking in the sun’s rays. Photodamage breaks down collagen and elastin, expands pores, stimulates sebaceous glands and deteriorates the skin’s immune system. Tally up the assaults and your skin can certainly develop acne as a result. Even incidental photodamage can do a great deal of harm to the skin, which is why daily sun protection is a must for all skin types (even the healthy, youthful, beautiful variety). Nevertheless…who says the damage can’t be undone? Natural Skin Shop certainly believes in second chances. So, up the ante and invest in regular skin peels to create healthy new skin cells, an antioxidant-rich serum to fend off free-radicals and a stable, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from future assaults.
PS: A compromised or damaged lipid barrier may also be to blame for your adult-acne. Please also see the Natural Skin Shop Blog: “Repair My Barrier…(and my derrière)”.
THE (EVENTUAL) GAIN
The good news about adult acne is that many acne-targeted treatments simultaneously provide a solution for aging skin. Therapeutic treatments involving glycolic acid, such as glycolic acid peels, treat the keratinization disorder associated with both acne and wrinkles. By stimulating fresh cellular production, chemical peels combat acne and wrinkles on all fronts. Skin-type appropriate skin peels are also highly effective against acne’s lesser-known associates (photodamage, rosacea and an impaired barrier).
AN IDEAL ADULT ACNE REGIMEN
*Gentle Cleanser (Don’t risk further irritating inflamed acne conditions by drying the epidermis thereby causing a bevy of additional skin concerns. Natural Skin Shop’s cleanser recommendation: The antioxidant-rich Peel RX Green Tea Cleanser
*Medicated Toner (Combat bacteria, dead skin and excess cosmetic and environmental residue)
*Serum (oily skin)/Lotion (normal to combination)/Serum + Lotion (combination to dry)
*Monthly Skin Peels (Your skin’s ability to renew itself takes a sluggish turn for the worse with age. Chemical peels perk up your skin into high-drive. )
Adult Acne: Common Question of the Day
Q: My daughter and I both have acne. Can we use the same products?
A: More often than not, adult and teenage acne don’t have much in common. To avoid unnecessary dryness and irritation, make sure to avoid drying, over-the-counter anti-acne potions and lotions targeted towards the youth. Yes, teenage and adult acne can have similar symptomatic conditions, however, the root cause and circumstances are often very different and therefore need to be addressed as so… In fact, be sure to check out your daughter’s products to make sure she isn’t falling prey to the victimization associated with “cyclical acne treatments”. Basically, any product that is marketed as an acne cure, but is instead packed full of irritating ingredients and drying astringents, which only perpetuate the ongoing battle instead of eliminating the root cause.
PS: Leave acne in the past where it belongs. But always remember to smile, smell the roses and forget you’re a “real adult” from time to time. Your skin and you heart will thank you….
Be Young at Heart,
Natural Skin Shop
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