Acne can cause embarrassment at any age. However, if you are a mature adult with facial blemishes, you probably wonder why they are occurring now. According to Acne.org, approximately 25 percent of adult men and 50 percent of adult women experience acne. Talk to your dermatologist about your blemishes; he can recommend the right treatment for your mature skin.
Acne has a variety of triggers, but it always begins in your pores. Pores are actually hair follicle. Each follicle has a sebaceous gland, or oil-producing gland, that excretes sebum. Those with oily skin tend to have larger pores and more oil production, while those with dry skin usually have smaller pores and less productive sebaceous glands. Cells called keratinocytes line all your pores; these cells die off and can mix with oil and dirt in a pore, clogging the follicle. It is this clog, or comedone, that results in an acne blemish.
Hormones play a role in acne formation. Androgens like testosterone are produced in both men and women, although males make a higher amount than females. The hair follicle cells respond abnormally to androgens, sometimes causing them to produce more oil and become more prone to collecting dirt and bacteria. Hormones fluctuate with age, particularly in women during menstruation, pregnancy, and before and after menopause.
As you age, your hormones can fluctuate. Unfortunately, drops in estrogen and progesterone can trigger increases in testosterone and other androgens, potentially increasing oil production and the likelihood of breakouts. If you are a woman over 60, you may still be experiencing symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes or insomnia, which are indicative of hormonal fluctuation. Fried's book states that some women try hormone therapies to improve quality of life and alleviate acne. For men, there is typically only a gradual decrease in testosterone levels; the decline can decrease libido but rarely triggers acne.
Acne at any age can be treated based on some simple principles, but mature skin has specific needs of its own. Nutritional supplements that include vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, C and E are often a recommended part of therapy, according to "Breaking Out," by Lydia Preston. Minerals like selenium and zinc may also be helpful. Talk to your doctor before adding vitamins, because excesses can be harmful.
Proper care of your skin is fundamental in alleviating acne lesions and maintaining a healthy, youthful complexion. Knowing your skin type is the first step in developing an acne regimen. Dry skin tends to do better with creams and ointments because they hydrate the skin. If you have oily skin, it may fare better with gels and lotions, which can be more drying. Some skincare companies have specific formulas for acne-prone, mature skin that can combat wrinkles as well as pimples. Talk to your dermatologist about your skin and what products are right for you.
- Acne.org: Adult Acne
- Healing Adult Acne; Richard G. Fried
- Breaking Out; Lydia Preston