Adult acne: causes and treatmentSunday, May 29, 2016
By JAVENE SKYERS
ACNE in many cases is associated with the teenage years; however, there are cases where acne follows a person into adulthood.
This is due to a variety of reasons, according to skin specialist Dr Neil Persadsingh.
Dr Persadsingh said acne is really a disease of the oil-bearing glands (pilosebaceous follicles) in the skin, and the identifying signs include the pimple, which is a clogged hair follicle, or a whitehead which becomes a blackhead when oxidised by air.
"We must remember that in the skin there are tiny holes called pores, and in each of these there is a tiny hair with a small oil gland attached. The oil-bearing glands produce sebum — the oil of the skin, which makes the skin soft and supple," he explained.
He added that if there is something that causes an increase in the production of sebum or causes the sebaceous glands to be blocked, then acne is likely to occur.
Sebum production in adolescents may increase because the body is undergoing various hormonal changes. Dr Persadsingh explained that later in life when the production of the hormones stabilises, then sebum production may decrease and acne may tend to disappear.
But he maintained that while acne in females usually clears up between the ages of 25-30, there are cases, such as in times of hormonal imbalance, where sebum production may continue to increase, resulting in acne in women.
1. Menstrual cycle
Dr Persadsingh stated while acne doesn’t normally start until after a woman’s first period, many women’s acne will get worse just before their monthly periods, known as a pre-menstrual flare. He said that birth control pills such as DIANE or YASMIN are often prescribed as treatment as they will cause the acne to improve or clear up completely.
When a woman gets pregnant her acne may get worse or better. In the same way that some women’s skin may glow during pregnancy, the skin of other women may look worse at this time. The dermatologist also stated that pregnancy complicates the treatment of acne as there are many drugs which cannot be used at that time as they may affect the unborn child.
Dr Persadsingh shared that sometimes as a woman gets older, around the time of menopause, her hormones may get unbalanced and this imbalance may result in acne.
The skin specialist highlighted that certain drugs, for example bromides and iodides, may cause an increase in the activity of acne presumably due to an increase in the production of sebum (oil). He said a woman’s diet, stress and cosmetic use can also trigger breakouts.