When Adults Break Out

Everyone knows that pimples and zits are common among teenagers, with some having it worse than others.  Unfortunately, acne does not really go away after the high school prom or the graduation gown is turned in.

Up to 50% of adult women will have to deal with acne at some time in their post-teenage years.  Treatment of acne as an adult presents different challenges because adult women are also dealing with other skin issues including wrinkles, sun damage, and dryness.

Teenage acne is driven by the hormonal surges of puberty.  Adult acne is also affected by hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout a woman’s reproductive life.  Even during menopause, skin changes can increase oil production and cause outbreaks.

While there is no cure for adult acne, at least not yet, it can be treated and kept under control.  No matter what your age is when you break out, the most efficacious and cost-effective treatment is the Burke Stop-Adult-Acne Plan:

Step 1: Gently wash your skin with the “right stuff”.  Washing your face too aggressively can make acne worse by irritating and inflaming already sensitive skin.  I generally recommend a salicylic acid wash, which loosens up dead skin clogging pores and frees up sebum, or skin oil, that can be trapped underneath.  Since salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties, it can break the cycle of skin reaction and help prevent future breakouts.

Step 2: Don’t forget to moisturize.  Many acne treatments, especially over-the-counter products, can dry out the skin.  Older skin also tends to become dryer anyway, and use of the typical teenage products on older skin can lead to excessive dryness and irritation.  I generally recommend light formulations that can hydrate the skin without increasing oil, such as Clarifying Moisturizer.

Step 3: Get rid of that spot.  Sometimes, there is just one or a small number of pesky spots that break out with monthly hormonal changes, even if you are doing all the right things for the rest of your skin.  In these cases, I highly recommend our Overnight Spot Treatment, which some patients have described as “almost miraculous”.  Treat that active pimple, or that spot that feels like a pimple is brewing, before bedtime.  A localized drying will occur overnight, which will make the treated area look better in the morning.

Step 4: Do not (under any circumstances) pick or pop those pimples!  I know it is tempting, but popping pimples causes scars to form.  While zits are bad, you don’t want to live with unfortunate permanent reminders of those temporary cosmetic inconveniences.

Step 5: Sometimes you need to see the doctor.  If none of the above measures work to your satisfaction, you may need a professional evaluation.  Being upgraded to prescription strength treatments or light-based therapy (laser and/or new LED blue light therapies) may be necessary in your case.  In fact, Maine Laser Skin Care is about to roll out the latest in LED therapy for acne, and I will discuss this advancement further in a future newsletter once we have finished staff training.

I hope this information helps with your choices in acne therapy for yourself or someone you know and love.  Click on the links above to order specific products, or call Becky at (207) 873-2158 to discuss further details or ask specific questions.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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