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Why Do Adults Get Acne?

Teenagers don’t enjoy the same privileges as adults. When teenagers suffer from acne outbreak, they tend to have it easier than adults. When adults suffer from severe acne, people tend to think that your hygiene is sub-optimal.

When adults suffer from acne, it can be both frustrating and embarrassing. The pressure to maintain a clear, beautiful skin escalates if you are in a customer-facing role, as it gives you an edge over your competition.

Try as you might, undergoing the same acne remedy when you were a teenager may no longer be as effective. In fact, the same acne remedy treatment may make your acne condition worse than before. You start to wonder why your acne cannot seem to go away.

We speak with Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics to understand more about the causes of adult acne and how to treat them.

Causes of Adult Acne

Most teenagers will outgrow acne when their hormone levels become stable. However, there is a small population of unfortunate people who may have to battle with acne and outbreaks even in their 30s and 40s.

“It is possible for you to get acne as an adult for the first time.” says Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics. If you have adult acne, it is probably due to one or more of the following reasons:

MENOPAUSE Menopause is one of the most common reasons cited by women when they sudden acne outbreak. What happens is that the level of estrogen (female hormones) decreases while the androgen level (male hormones) remains constant. This causes your body to experience an ‘increase’ in male hormones. This may lead to acne outbreak and other male-related problems such as hair loss.

STRESS Undergoing a stressful period in your life such as divorce, death in the family, or even a change in job can contribute to increased levels of stress. When stress levels go up, you expose yourself to acne outbreak because our bodies produce more male hormones in response to the stress you are facing. In addition, these hormones are largely responsible for issues like overactive oil glands which may clog the pores, which may lead to acne.

FLUCTUATION IN HORMONE LEVELS Women experience changes in hormone levels at some points in their lives. Events such as monthly periods, pregnancy, menopause, and even taking birth control pills can cause drastic changes in hormone levels, which explains the acne outbreaks.

SKINCARE PRODUCTS Be a discerning customer when selecting skincare products for your skin. Always read the product labels and ingredient list properly. Using products that contain harmful ingredients may aggravate the acne condition. Some of these common ingredients are:

  • SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol
  • Petroleum
  • Mineral oil
  • Sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF MEDICATIONS Certain medicines can sometimes trigger acne outbreak. Some medicines that are known to cause acne outbreaks are:

  • Some antidepressants and anti-epileptic drugs
  • Thyroid medications
  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Tuberculosis medications
  • Steroids

Check with your doctor if the medicine you are taking may trigger acne as a side effect.

Treatments and Solutions for Adult Acne

REDUCE HIGH GI FOODS Foods that are high in glycemic index not only make you fat, they also cause sharp spikes in your sugar and insulin levels. Foods high in sugar can lead to inflammation and subsequently, acne outbreak. Start by replacing highly processed foods such as white bread and white rice with whole grains can significantly improve your health and your skin. Be amazed at how your skin clears up with the change in your diet.

REGULAR EXFOLIATION It may sound painful to remove the top layer of your skin when you have acne outbreak. Truth is, whether your acne is mild or severe, regular exfoliation helps to reduce breakouts by keeping your pores unclogged so that dead skin cells and sebum don’t accumulate in your pores. If you have sensitive skin, go to a clinic to have your exfoliation facial treatment done by the experts. 

Alternatively, pick a good exfoliator that is gentle on your skin. A good exfoliator should contain natural compound for exfoliating your skin. Many exfoliators use synthetic beads that are not only bad for your skin, but bad for the environment as well.

USE MOISTURIZER It may sound counterintuitive to moisturize your skin even though you have oily skin and acne breakout. The truth is, if you use skin-drying products, your body responds by producing more sebum. Excess sebum can clog your pores, trapping dead skin cells and bacteria that will almost certainly lead to acne breakout. Using a gentle moisturizer will regulate the oil production on your face.

PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR ACNE AGNES Acne Treatment is a technique designed by Koreans to permanently eliminate your acne problems. AGNES targets the root problem of acne by destroying the sebaceous glands. The doctor uses an insulated micro-needle to deliver radiofrequency waves to destroy the sebaceous glands. The needles are insulated so that it protects the surface of the skin, preventing thermal injury to the sensitive skin. With the sebaceous glands destroyed, acne will not come back – permanently

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