Acne in Adults… What You Should Know

AcneWhile typically acne has been associated with teenagers, acne in adults is actually more common than ever before and can be emotionally debilitating for the sufferer. From causes to treatment, HEALTH examines this pesky problem…

The Reality

Though many of us may presume that acne in adults is rare, the fact is that an estimated 25 percent of all men and 50 percent of women suffer from acne at some point in their adult lives.

Acne, explains Dr. Ghada Salah Abdel Qader, Clinical Dermatologist, Venerologist and Cosmetologist at Obagi Medispa in Dubai Mall is an inflammatory disorder of the pilo sebaceous gland characterized by the formation of comedones, erythematous papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. “It is caused by an increase in sebum production due to an increase in certain hormones such as testosterone or an increased sensitivity to this hormone,” she says. “The invasion of P. acnes to the pilo sebaceous glands will induce more inflammation and more sebum production.”


According to Dr. Abdel Qader, the treatment of acne vulgaris is topical only for very mild and mild cases while topical and systemic treatment is for moderate and severe cases. “Topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics, retinoic acid, adapalene 0.1 percent and 20 percent azaleic acid,” she says, and systemic treatments include various types of antibiotics, anti-androgens and oral retinoids. “If left untreated, it could result in acne scars and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” she tells.

The Difference

While adolescent acne can be very severe, often appearing all over the face accompanied by telltale scars, adult acne is usually mild, does not result in scarring and usually restricts its appearance to the chin, lower cheek and below the jaw line. However sometimes the problem may not really be acne vulgaris but instead Rosacea which is a skin condition resembling adult acne that manifests as extreme redness that develops on the forehead, cheeks and nose.

Tips for Keeping Acne at Bay:

  1. Avoid the sun as much as possible as it increases the inflammatory process.
  2. Apply sun protection every three hours.
  3. Use proper face wash to minimize the sebum and oil production.
  4. Use proper toner which contains salicylic acid, mandalic acid and glycolic acid.
  5. Avoid playing with pimples as it may leave a scar.
  6. Diet is very important; avoid dairy products, chocolates and spicy foods and instead consume healthier options such as fruits and vegetables.
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