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Question: What is the deal with this adult acne? I swear my skin wasn’t this bad when I was 13. And they’re not just regular pimples, but big bumps underneath my skin. Help!
Answer: Oh honey, there are so many factors at play here. Lemme break it down.
Causes of acne:
As women, we go through four major hormonal changes in our life: adolescence; perimenopause (the metabolic slowdown of our 30s and 40s); menopause itself (the official end to a woman’s reproductive years during which many experience annoying symptoms like hot and flashes, fatigue, vaginal dryness, etc); and post-menopause (when it’s finally smooth sailing.)
If you’re entering one of these stages, hormonal spikes combined with everyday stress and not enough sleep can lead to acne. It’s important that you don’t complicate your chemical makeup with pills and alcohol when you’re under stress. This will dehydrate and cause irritation to the skin.
The best over-the-counter acne solutions are products that contain salicylic acid. This acid penetrates oil, loosens the sebum — the oily, waxy substance secreted from your sebaceous glands and which leads to what we call “greasy” skin — and kills bacteria in the pores.
Laser treatments create heat inside the pores in order to kill the bacteria, and direct application of oxygen — my personal favorite — penetrates the pores and provides an environment that discourages the growth of bacteria. If all else fails, there’s Accutane, a prescription medication that closes the oil follicle and helps eliminate stubborn acne. But as with all prescription medications, Accutane comes with a host of side effects, so be sure to check with your doctor in order to decide if it’s best for you.
My favorite OTC anti-acne products:
- I’ve personally had great luck with some over-the-counter products like Clearasil Daily Clear Tinted Acne Cream, which contains sulfur and is extremely effective.
- I also love Aloe Mystique’s Zit Zap, which is available at local discount drugstores and is made with 10 percent salicylic acid.
One thing to remember, though: These spot treatment type of products can dry out the skin and shouldn’t be used for more than 72 hours at a time.
Finally, drink water! Get enough sleep! Take time to de-stress! Did I mention water?
Stay beautiful, ladies!