Heal Your Skin: Fixes for Complexion Complaints
Adult AcneWhat It Is
Now more than ever, the
doctor's office can provide
healing skin options, from
skin-calming injections to
Acne can strike at any age, and its blackheads, whiteheads, inflamed red bumps, and cysts can be traced to the same culprit: sensitivity to androgens, a group of hormones that enlarge oil glands and induce more oil production. In addition, the hair follicles shed skin cells that combine with the oil, plugging the pores.
What causes this interruption? Usually it's genetics and stress. Bacteria, yeast, and debris accumulate in the blocked follicle. The body's immune system reacts by inflaming the area, hence the redness and swelling. In a word, acne. So there you are, staring at the mirror in disbelief.What the Dermatologist Can Do
A dermatologist can help you devise a regimen that treats all of acne's triggers, with these solutions:
- Retinoids: These vitamin A-based creams and lotions reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and yeast, and kick-start the shedding of skin cells so that follicles don't get blocked in the first place, says Wilma Bergfeld, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. Retinoids, however, make the skin more sensitive to sun, so be sure to use them only at night.
- Isotretinoin: This version of vitamin A decreases oil production, making the skin less hospitable to bacteria and yeast. Because this drug can cause serious birth defects, women who take it must agree to use two forms of birth control and be carefully monitored for pregnancy.
- Antibiotic and benzoyl peroxide combination: This prescription product attacks bacteria and yeast.
- Hormonal imbalance check: Some dermatologists will also screen for hormonal imbalances, which can cause breakouts -- birth control pills can help with this, as can anti-androgen pills.
- Cortisone shots: "Physicians can shrink deep cysts by injecting a slow-release cortisone derivative," says Caroline S. Koblenzer, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Light therapies: Certain lasers unclog closed pores and reduce oil production.
Classic acne fighters, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, remain the gold standard. You can find them in everything from cleansers, such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, $5.99, to spot treatments, such as Kinerase Clear Skin Blemish Dissolver, $39. And owing to the rise in adult acne, many skincare products now combine these active ingredients with soothing botanicals to help prevent any potential irritation. Also, beware oil-rich moisturizers that can block pores. Remember, the more consistent you are with your antiacne regimen, the less likely you are to have a blemish in the first place.
SAVE EVEN MORE! Say “Yes” to Ladies' Home Journal® Magazine today and get a second year for HALF PRICE - 2 full years (22 issues) for just $15. You also get our new Ladies' Home Journal® Family Favorites Cookbook ABSOLUTELY FREE!