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Adult acne: The causes and cures

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Put an end To breakouts

Except for the occasional pimple or two, you have never had to worry about your skin - until now, as an adult! And though you are way past your teenage years, you are breaking out like a 14 year old. What is going on? You may feel like the only adult around to have a face freckled with pimples, but you are definitely not alone. According to experts, up to 50 percent of adult women in the US suffer from acne breakouts. Here are some causes and cures for those adult-onset blemishes.

Woman Washing Face

CAUSES OF ADULT ACNE

Feeling stressed? Then it is no surprise you are battling blemishes. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can increase oil production and block pores, thus aggravating your acne.

Additionally, a lack of shuteye can also lead to poor skin, since hormone levels increase when sleep patterns of disturbed. Other breakout triggers include bacteria leftover on your body after a workout (taking a shower as soon as you are finished exercising can fix that problem); withdrawal from the Pill; and the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy (especially within the first three months).

CURES FOR CLEARING UP YOUR SKIN

If you are just dealing with a breakout here and there, then you can seek over-the-counter products to treat your skin. Anything with bacteria-zapping benzoyl or salicylic acid, which unclogs pores should work to keep your skin clear. You can find acne-fighting skin products on the Sheknows.com Shopping Channel.

But if your pimples are persistent and your skin remains spotty after a few weeks or so, then it is time to see a dermatologist, who may prescribe more powerful treatments than you can buy at a store. He or she may also suggest that you start on a medication like The Pill (which regulates hormone levels) or Accutane (which suppresses oil output). You can also talk to your dermatologist about laser treatments or collagen injections to treat scars and knock down bigger blemishes before a special event like your wedding or a major job interview.

TREAT YOUR ACNE WITH TIPS FROM THE PROS

Take these steps to fight acne, as recommended by The American Academy of Dermatology.
  • To prevent scars, do not pop, squeeze or pick at acne.
  • Seek treatment early for acne that does not respond to over-the-counter medications.
  • Gently wash affected areas twice a day with mild soap and warm water.
  • Avoid vigorous washing and scrubbing, which can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
  • Use "noncomedogenic" (does not clog pores) cosmetics and toiletries.
  • Use oil-free cosmetics and sunscreens.
  • Avoid alcohol-based astringents, which strip your skin of natural moisture.
  • Use medication as directed and allow enough time for acne products to take effect.

For more information about adult acne and tips for gorgeous skin, check out these links:

What to do about acne

Rejuvenate your skin with IPL

Taking care of your skin while dieting

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