Acne is generally considered a teenager’s problem and the market is usually saturated with face washes, creams, sprays and other similar ‘cleansing’ products, both medicated and non-comedogenic, organic ones. While the understanding is usually that teenagers going through puberty have the greatest difficulty with acne there is a growing segment of the population that has acne problems even well into their thirties.
While teenage methods for combatting acne still apply, adults usually don’t have the same liberty to use products that are slow to work. Image is more important in the business market than in the high-school classroom and adults can’t afford to wait for months for their acne to ‘pass’.
There are two schools of thought when discussing adult acne. One focuses on organic treatments, sometimes aiming to even-out perceived hormone imbalances by means of modified plant-derived hormones. These treatments and dietary supplements are not proven to work in a scientific fashion but thousands of people swear by them.
Another common way of treatment is by using anti-inflammatory and antiseptic medication in the form of either a topical cream or an oral suspension. This course of treatment is usually taken together with a larger dermatological program, including skin ’sanding’ procedures ( the removal of the top layer of dead skin via mechanical means) and cosmetic treatments such as masks. This type of treatment has been shown to be effective but is generally more expensive than a direct medicated course. This is usually taken by people either allergic to the standard combination retinoid treatment, people with moderate cases of acne or people who do not want to risk an imbalance in their hormones.
Birth control pills and menstrual cycle regulator pills are also quite successful in reducing moderate cases of acne, particularly when used in combination with some other drugs. The hormones in these pills influence the level of androgens, which, in abnormal levels have been shown to cause acne in adults.
Yet by far the most effective way of treating acne is by topical retinoids and oral isotretinoin, a quite successful treatment that has raised some concerns over its safety. Medication based on isotretinoin is successful in nearly all cases but there are concerns over its vast list of side effects, including depression and according to some sources, liver damage. This course of action should only be attempted under the full supervision of a dermatologist.
Adult acne is no laughing matter. It can ruin careers and psychologically scar sufferers and should always be treated as soon as possible.