[By Annabelle Lim]
Thought you have put your acne days behind you? Think again. A landmark study in 1999 found the median age for acne to be 26.5. Doctors we have spoken to also confirm this finding, with many dermatologists noticing that the age of new sufferers continues to increase.
The last straw to break the camel’s back? It has been confirmed that more women have breakouts in adulthood than men do. As if this is not a double whammy for the fairer sex. While the jury is still out on why breakouts are on the rise, but dermatologists speculate it’s linked to an overall increase in hormonal fluctuations.
However, if there is one thing women can do, that is put up a good fight. Read on for how we can battle our breakouts with this comprehensive regime.
Bother: This is a common scenario: the dastardly pimple disappears, only to leave behind an even more dastardly sight— the indented acne scar.
Buster: That’s why retinoids are great for acne—they slough off the damage and boost collagen to fill scars. Salicylic or glycolic acid creams and lighteners such as hydroquinone can help remove dark spots. For deeper scars, certain lasers such as Fraxel Restore laser can repair more severe damage. Quick fixes such as tiny jabs of a natural filler can also do the trick in salvaging the damaged spot.
Bother: Adult acne can be more persistent than teenage acne. As women age, oestrogen drops, which can lead to increased sebum levels and acne.
Buster: That’s why birth control pills, which slightly raise estrogen levels, effectively clear skin. Oral contraceptives such as Diane-35 or Yasmin have been prescribed to clear acne. The hormone cortisol is the likely culprit in stress breakouts. That alone should be reason enough for you to take a vacation pronto.
Bother: The most basic of blemishes, whiteheads (closed comedones) and blackheads (open comedones) are simply clogged pores. Sometimes we are not able to shed dead cells, and clogs result.
Buster: These non-inflamed bumps are best treated with topical acids or vitamin A derivatives. Topical retinoids work very well to increase cell turnover. In-clinic salicylic and glycolic acid peels are also very effective to help keep patients’ skin clear and radiant. Don’t pick, push, or pop—you’ll risk scarring.
Bother: Irritated pimples are the immune system’s response to trapped bacteria. On top of looking red and angry, red pimples and broken capillaries (as a result of the frequent outbreaks) give the entire face a flushed and erythematous appearance, hardly the perfect setting for a hot date.
Buster: In addition to topical or oral antibiotics, try using antimicrobial benzoyl peroxide. In fact, if possible, use a combination of different anti-acne ingredients for optimal zit busting capacity. Using multiple topicals reduces the chances that the bacteria will develop resistance to antibiotics. Another potent anti-acne cum anti-redness savior is azelaic acid, it reduces skin flushing while battling breakouts. Sensitive skin, however, may do better with something less drying, and a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. For moderate acne, try blue photobiomodulation lights called I-Clear to reduce acne count. Opt for IPL to reduce skin redness and overall blotchiness.