In my last acne post we discussed what the four causes of acne are, with a lot more detail about how it is caused and how those four things interrelate to make for problem skin. But I also get this question A LOT – Why am I getting acne now? I’m an adult! Isn’t acne for teenagers?
Here are some numbers for you – between 40 and 55 percent of adults age 20-40 are or have been diagnosed with persistent acne and oily skin. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 54 percent of women older than age 25 have some form of chronic facial acne. So no, it is no longer a problem for teenagers. It seems to be affecting more and more of America all the time.
And it is. Research conducted at Dermalogica’s International Dermal Institute indicates that acne is rising in adulthood. However it is more likely to be more inflammatory in nature since adults generally take better care of their skin, which is different than the acne experienced by teenagers. Additionally, adults often have sensitized skin or a combination of skin conditions that makes treatment especially challenging, moreso than teens who often have oily but consistent skin.
Triggered by hormones, acne can occur at any stage of our lives. We discussed the four primary causes of acne, but what are the aggravating factors? What causes hormones to get out of balance, which then causes excess oil production? What can you do?
The primary, number one aggravator leading to acne is chronic stress. Acute stress that comes and goes may cause a momentary breakout, but chronic, continued stress will affect the hormone levels in your body, which can dramatically increase oil production and is the root cause of persistent acne. Women are generally more affected by this stress as they combine workplace stress with household responsibilities. Add in to this normal monthly fluctuations in hormone levels, and you have just created the perfect breeding ground for acne.
There are other big contributors too: cosmetics that contain ingredients that are irritants to the skin, or just don’t use quality ingredients; actually picking or squeezing acne blemishes will deposit more bacteria on your skin, adding to the problem; the psychological effects of acne first showing up can increase hormone levels, causing more acne, creating an acne cycle.
Another contributor is using skincare products that are harsh and irritate your skin. Your skin is an organ, and must be maintained in optimum health for it to function properly. Using harsh chemicals to treat your skin often does nothing to correct the main causes of acne, but irritates or inflames the skin, negatively impacting follicles. Inflammation, as you may remember, is an immediate condition that can promote acne. There are numerous products advertised on TV, magazines and the internet that can actually do more harm than good. Subjecting your skin to a harsh cleaner or acne treatment without properly preparing your skin and following up with a care regimen is going to do more harm than good.
The bottom line – chronic stress negatively impacts hormone levels, and is the biggest contributor to what can cause acne. Harsh chemicals found in many skincare products, or cosmetics that contain irritants, chemicals, or low quality ingredients are also contributors.
The single best thing you can do at home for the treatment of acne is to reduce stress in your life. Go for a walk, ride a bike, take a day off. Pray, meditate, spend time relaxing. Adopt a more healthy lifestyle with better foods and regular activity. Evaluate what is going on in the workplace and at home, try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. I will happily give you all the acne detox facials you want, and recommend an entire line of products that will help you, but the single best thing you can do is reduce stress. Reduce your stress, and suddenly the detox facials and products will be working much better!
Now you know some of the big contributing factors, and what you can be doing at home, I will finish this up in my last article – what can I do for you, what can you expect, and how are we going to get you on the path to healthy skin! Follow me here and on Facebook to get the latest in news and information!