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Adult Acne – Updates


Shilpa, a 35 year old spirited woman, balancing her career and kids is upset nowadays. Ask her why and she points to her chin. At the centre of her chin and her jaw line are 4 painful bumps which have been there since 3 months and show no signs of subsiding. She backed out from her presentation because of the same and recently skipped a college re-union.

How many of you identify with Shilpa and her woes?

How many of you keep fiddling with these zits and often end up squeezing them out leaving marks and even scars.

Worse still, how many of you end up using home remedies or your beautician’s advice and end up having larger bumps at newer places.

Welcome to the world of Adult Acne.

While every one is aware of acne in their teens and some of us must have even experienced it, few are aware of Adult Acne or Acne in mature skin.

 As per a research by American Academy of Dermatology, 55 percent of women between the age of 25 – 40 suffers from Adult Acne. Closer home, Indian Journal of Dermatology recently published that  40%  percent of Indian women have experienced acne in their adulthood.

It can either be a mere continuation of teenage acne or develop anew in late 20’s to up to 40’s. They generally appear as unrelenting larger but fewer lesions generally leaving marks / scars. You will rarely notice blackheads.

Some common myths about adult acne..

  • Myth – It is heat

           Truth – Heat only causes milaria (prickly heat), not acne

  • Myth – It is because of oily skin

           Truth – In fact most women in this age group have dry, sensitive skin with  

  just an oily T-zone and interestingly, Adult Acne most commonly appears on  

  the chin, jaw line, neck and chest and not on cheeks / T-zone as in teen acne.

  • Myth – Its treatment is similar to teen acne

           Truth – Treatment of Adult Acne is different and responds slowly.

Then what is the cause of Adult Acne? – the 3 “S”

  • Stress and Hormones – They are both causes and effects of each other. For example, while stress can alter hormonal balance, unstable hormones can cause mood swings, hairloss, acne and hence stress.
  • Salons and Cosmetics –  A common tactic is to squeeze out the zit and then use a cosmetic to conceal the ugly mark left. Commonplace, right. Well, you will be dragged in a vicious cycle of never ending acne once you start doing this. Another common mistake is visiting salons and spas who offer miracle therapies for acne with their facials and clean-ups which do more harm than good.
  • Smoking – A study conducted in Dermatological Institute in Rome showed that adult acne was 3 times more common in women smokers as compared to the non smokers. Nicotine was identified as the culprit.

Now that you know about Adult acne, a list of common DONT’S :

  • DON’T touch your pimples.
  • DON’T do facials / clean-ups when you have acne.
  • DON’T scrub. Scrubbing leaves the skin irritated and causes inflammed acne.
  • DON’T use too many cosmetics and while choosing one check the constituents. Avoid the one’s containing acetone / aloevera / isopropyl myristate. Use Liquid Foundation and choose loose powders over compacts.
  • DON’T go to salons / spas / beauty experts for advice on acne.
  • DON’T buy OTC products. Most people end up spending lot of money over products that never help especially when one prescription drug written by a qualified Dermatologist can solve the problem early on.
  • DON’T use what your Dermatologist has prescribed your friend for acne. There is no “one medicine for all” solution.
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