Treatment and Care
Fortunately, adult acne can still be addressed through proper treatment and prevented through the cultivation of healthy habits. Here’s how you can take care of your skin and prevent breakouts:
1. Choose the right treatment solutions.
For moderate to severe acne, treatment solutions can either be oral or topical. For oral treatments, there are antibiotics to reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation, anti-androgen drugs to prevent androgen hormones from stimulating production of sebum, and FDA-approved combinations of oral contraceptives that combine progesterone and progestin.
For topical treatments, there are retinoid creams geared towards preventing the clogging of hair follicles, antibiotics used in conjunction with retinoid creams, and azelaic acid that also has antibacterial properties.
Salicylic acid and nitric oxide are also two of the topical treatments used to address acne flare-ups. Extracted from willow bark, salicylic acid has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and comedolytic (comedone-inhibiting) properties that make it an effective solution against acne. For moderate to severe acne, you can try treatment solutions that combine salicylic acid with nitric oxide, which promotes healing and reduces inflammation.
2. Use appropriate hair and skincare products.
When choosing the right product for your hair and skin, look for those that are oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-acnegenic. These will lessen the chances of flare-ups, but do take note that finding the right product for you may take some trial and error; each skin type is different and there are other factors involved in breakouts. Also, when you’re having an acne breakout, try to use makeup sparingly.
3. Wash your face twice a day.
While it may be tempting to wash your face as often as you can, doing so more than twice a day stimulates the production of excess oil and may cause skin irritation. Wash your face in the morning and in the evening before going to bed. Use warm water and a mild cleanser, and pat dry your face with a soft, clean towel. Avoid scrubbing your face as this may further irritate your skin.
On a related note, if you also tend to have oily hair, wash your hair frequently as the oil in your hair may add to the oil on your face.
4. Develop healthy habits.
Besides causing or aggravating health problems, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or sleeping late are also contributing factors to acne breakouts. Try to cut back, if not outright quit smoking to lessen chances of developing smoker’s acne. Also, try to sleep at a regular time each night, ideally by 11pm and for at least 7 hours to give your body ample time to rest and recover.
Switching over to a low-GI diet can also help prevent or reduce the frequency of occurrence of acne breakouts. Foods rich in omega-3 such as fish, nuts, spinach, kale, and soy products may help reduce inflammation and would be a good addition to your meals.
5. Consult with your dermatologist.
If your acne condition has not improved with medication and lifestyle changes, consult with your dermatologist. Acne breakouts can be symptomatic of other health problems. Your dermatologist may also prescribe you different medication that can help alleviate the breakout or shed light as to what may be causing your acne.