Recent clinical studies have shown that more and more adults are suffering from acne, and that over 54% of women over the age of 25 suffer from some form of adult acne. Adult acne can be harder to treat than teenage acne, as teenage skin is generally youthful and resilient and stands up to harsh treatments quite well.
So what is acne, and why is it on the rise amongst adults and particularly women? Acne occurs when hair follicles or sebaceous follicles become inflamed. Both types of follicles are associated with sebaceous glands which produce sebum, a complex mixture of lipids, and a hair in each follicle acts as a wick to transport sebum and cellular debris to the surface of the skin. Acne is more likely to occur in sebaceous follicles as the hair there is very fine and more likely to be unable to do its job properly. The activity level of the sebaceous gland is key to acne occurrence, and this can be determined by puberty, hormonal changes, stress and environmental factors. Adults can come under stress at any stage of their life, but the rise of acne in women has been attributed to the increased numbers trying to balance a full-time job with raising a family and looking after a household.
Medical treatment for adult acne in women can include putting them on oral contraceptives, which contain estrogen and progestin to help reduce the hormonal impact on sebaceous activity, and steroids to reduce the effects of stress. Your skin therapist can also help by advising an at-home skin cleansing routine to help prevent acne spreading, as well as advice on how to prevent scarring and permanent damage to the skin. The main thing to remember is that if stress is thought to be the root cause, this also needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency!