If you suffered from pimples or acne as a teenager, you probably longed to grow up and leave your blemishes behind. But, plenty of adults realize that maturity doesn’t always mean being acne-free. Adults can break out, too, even adults who had no trouble with acne as teenagers.

Adult acne is slightly different than teenage acne. Don’t turn to the Clearasil or other products you used back then, as they are often too harsh for older skin. If you are particularly concerned about your acne, talk to a plastic surgeon about non-surgical treatments to help clear it up.

 What Causes Adult Acne

 A number of factors contribute to adult acne. It’s typically more common in women than in men, and is often connected to fluctuating hormone levels related to pregnancy, going on and off birth control, and menopause. The acne develops as a result of too much sebum, the oil produced by the sebaceous glands, which clogs pores and leads to blemishes.

Some people are more likely to develop acne as an adult thanks to their genes. If your parents had acne, you’re likely to have it too. In some cases, acne in adulthood is caused by medication, a skin care product or a hair care product.

Cleansing the Skin

It’s tempting to pick at pimples and blemishes in an effort to make them go away. It’s also tempting to try to blast away acne using facial products designed for teenagers. But, your best option for treating acne at home is to go the gentle route. Skip teenager-focused products, as they will be too drying for older skin.

Instead, look for  gentle, creamy cleansers such as Cetaphil. A facial scrub or harsh cleanser might seem like it will do the trick, but is likely to make your acne worse. A moisturizer or lotion that contains retinol is not only helpful in treating the signs of aging, such as fine lines, it can also help clear up your acne.

Depending on how severe your acne is, you might consider prescription strength skin care to treat it. A doctor can prescribe a treatment for your acne that helps it clear up without drying your skin or causing irritation. Some people find that their acne clears up after a course of antibiotics.

Chemical Peels and In-Office Treatments

An in-office treatment, such as a chemical peel, can help treat adult acne. Chemical peels are often formulated with glycolic or salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate and cleanse the skin. While some chemical  peels are very deep and require anesthesia or sedation and have a long recovery time, light or medium peels have a quicker recovery time and require no anesthetic.

One popular chemical peel option for people with adult acne is the Obagi Blue Chemical Peel. Performed in-office, the peel typically takes about an hour and doesn’t require sedation. There might be a slight burning sensation at first, but that usually abates quickly. The peel removes the top layer of skin, giving your face a fresher look and helping to treat acne.

Another peel that is often recommended for people with acne is the PCA peel. The PCA peel contains Resorcinol, salicylic acid and lactic acid and is designed for people with oily skin. Like the Obagi Blue peel, the PCA peel is performed in the office setting, doesn’t require sedation and takes about 60 minutes.

Scar Removal

Another drawback of having acne as an adult is the potential for scarring. If your acne is mostly or completely cleared up, but you are left with unpleasant scars, you have a number of options for removal. One option is derma planing, which shaves off layers of the epidermis using a surgical blade. The treatment can’t be performed if you currently have acne or oily skin, though.

Dr. Kyle Choe at The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Virginia Beach regularly sees patients who are experiencing a number of skin conditions, including adult acne. If home care isn’t helping your acne clear up, contact The Choe Center for a consultation today. Get on your way to clearer skin by calling 757.389.5850 for an appointment.