So, you made it through the awkward teenage years without acne and thought you were in the clear. But now you’ve entered adulthood and you’ve been hit with acne (as if adulting wasn’t hard enough). Pimples are having a high-school reunion on your face that you definitely didn’t RSVP to.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. Many of us have had it or will have it in our lifetime. But to make things even more complicated, teen acne and adult acne aren’t the same thing. If you fought acne before in your teens, everything you did in your defence the first time around won’t necessarily work in your adulthood. Teen acne is often brought on by a change in hormones as a part of growing up, whereas there are several reasons behind adult acne. Forget everything you thought you knew and listen up.
What causes adult acne?
The main cause of acne is excess sebum production and clogged pores. We hear the phrase ‘clogged pores’ over and over again. And at the risk of sounding repetitive, acne can’t be mentioned without it.Wherever there's acne, you can bet there’s clogged pores.
Our skin is covered in millions of small openings (pores) that connect its surface to the sebaceous glands found underneath the skin. They produce an oily substance called sebum, which isn’t as bad as it sounds in a healthy amount, as it keeps the skin moisturised and creates a waterproof layer to keep as much water in the body as possible.
Sebum travels through a follicle, along with dead skin cells and bacteria, to be flushed away. When the follicle is trying to work overtime filled with excess sebum and gunk they become, you guessed it, clogged. This can lead to an infection. The body then goes into self-healing mode and sends out an SOS (save our skin) for extra blood cells to be sent to the area causing inflammation. This is why after you pop a spot there’s pus followed by blood. It's an equally gross and impressive move from the body.
But we can’t entirely blame clogged pores alone. Our lifestyles can also contribute to those pesky pimples. Stress, diet and lack of sleep are all linked to hormones meaning they can have a direct effect on the chemical balance in your skin making it vulnerable to acne.
The different types of acne
Identifying the type of acne you have is the first step to treating it. Acne can be flat on the surface of the skin or raised and fit into the following categories:
Comedones - these are small skin - coloured papules. Open comedones are blackheads and closed comedones are whiteheads. Blackheads are commonly mistaken as dirt, but when comedones are open, melanin comes into contact with air and oxidises, darkening in colour.
Milia - or milk spots, typically develop when dead skin cells get trapped on their way out and become a small cyst. Depending on how close they came to the surface of the skin, they can naturally remove themselves over a few months.
Papules - the type of acne we most associate with the skin condition. Papules are red bumps without a pus centre. It usually takes a few days for them to fill up with pus, the time in which we’ve pinched, poked and prodded atto get that satisfying pop. But we urge you to fight all temptations as having beautiful skin feels so much better than popping a pimple.Trust us.
Pustules - When papules contain pus, they become pustules.
Nodules - the toughest type of acne to shake. They don’t tend to develop a whitehead and stay firm beneath the skin. Nodules mean the infection of a clogged pore has spread deep into the skin’s layers and can be extremely painful. You should avoid at all costs trying to pick at these.
Cysts - pretty much nodules but softer as they’re filled with pus. You won’t have so much of an urge to mess with these as they'll hurt just as much.
HOW TO TREAT ACNE
Reduce your stress levels
It seems unfair that when we’re stressed, we can develop or worsen acne - another thing to stress about. When we’re stressed, our body responds by producing the hormones cortisol and androgens in defence. But the catch is they escalate the production of sebum.
Many things that contribute to stress are out of our control, but one thing we can control is our plan of action to reduce our stress levels. Regularly exercising to up your feel-good endorphins, starting a journal to help better process your feelings and indulging in self-care are all ways in which you can do so.
Improve your diet
Our diet is a little easier to control than stress, but we know it’s easier said than done with the bad eating habits we’ve picked up over lockdown (you’re not alone if you came into contact with your fridge more than anyone else). Foods high in refined carbs and sugar cause the body to produce more insulin, which it then reacts to by producing more oil, increasing the chances of a clogged pore.
We hate to be the ones to tell you, especially if you have a super sweet tooth, that you need to cool it on the carbs and sugar. This doesn’t mean cutting it out completely (we’d never be so cruel), as you need a healthy amount of each, but in moderation.
If you struggle with your diet and are not sure what could be causing your skin to flare up, we would recommend consulting a Nutritionist like our own, amazing Eve Kalinik. They can run various tests and see if you have an intolerance to certain foods that in turn could be making your skin flare up.
Get more sleep
A lack of sleep weakens the body's defence system that helps to prevent blemishes. It doesn't want acne any more than you do. Added stress from little sleep can also be felt by the body and produce the unwanted hormones we mentioned earlier as a result.
Increasing the amount of sleep you get will give your body a fighting chance against acne.
Commit to a skincare routine
As adults, we typically have less time on our hands to obsess over a thorough skincare routine (or so we like to think anyway). But it’s all about mastering time management that we’re meant to be able todo now. We all have 1000 minutes in a day. At least 5 of those minutes should be spent in the morning and evening on your skin. If you’re prone to breakouts, you should have a regular skincare routine. If you’re not sure where to start, at Young LDN we offer complimentary consultations and can help you get on the right skin journey.
Acne treatments at Young LDN
While an effective skincare routine can take you most of the way, more aggressive acne will need extra help to get you across the finish line. At Young LDN we offer Bespoke Acne Treatment packages and courses for all acne types - acne doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. As there are multiple reasons behind the skin condition, there’s no universal approach that works for everyone. But we together can discover and create the best skin journey to suit you.
Once you’ve shown acne whose boss, we also offer a growth factor foreskin facial and microneedling for acne scarring and skin rejuvenation. They act as a wakeup call to the skin to announce acne has been defeated and it's time to celebrate by stimulating tissue repair, collagen and elastin for a new complexion.
5 PRODUCTS THAT CAN HELP WITH ADULT ACNE BREAKOUTS
An energising cleansing foam to kick start your day the right way. Containing an impressive 15% glycolic acid, it’ll detox congested skin from impurities making it harder for acne to form or intensify. It also encourages cell renewal through AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) by dissolving the bonds keeping dead skin cells together. The formula is feared by acne and it's now your secret weapon against it. It’s time to fight back.
If you’re only going to add one thing into your skincare routine to help with acne breakouts, then oil control pads from ZO Skin Health should be that one thing.
Your daily anti-acne regime wouldn’t be complete without a serum with pure vitamin E. iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum Advanced+ combines vitamins E,A and C for intense nourishing, healing and antioxidant protection. It can be used pre- and post-procedure so you can continue to fuel your skin with goodness throughout your treatment for the best end result.
We swore by a 5-minute skincare routine but if you want to add a primer and SPF, you’ll have to work fast. Or you could just use ImagePrevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser. The oil-free formula will keep you protected against UVB and UVA rays with SPF 30 whilst creating the perfect primer. It’ll deliver a high concentration of moisture, so your skin won’t have to make up for it in excess oils - aka potential clogged pores.
The next best thing for professional results at home for when you can’t make it to an appointment. It has 4 different wavelengths with 6different settings to generate collagen, elastin, brighten your complexion, increase circulation, reduce fine lines and wrinkles. But our favourite part?The purifying blue light mode provides ultimate relaxation for you and your acne. It provides a calming, antibacterial treatment for inflamed skin as well as help to prevent future breakouts. Sit back, relax and put your feet up while this mask does the leg work for you.
We can help you if you're struggling with adult acne
If you're struggling with adult acne, our tribe are experts in treating all types of acne and are here to help. Book in for a complimentary consultation and let us help you ❤️