Acne Problems Can Flare Up for Adults as Well as Teens

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It is an embarrassing part of the experience of our teen years that most of us would rather not relive: acne. Unfortunately, this skin problem can pay a return visit even after we’re well into adulthood.

Acne, of course, is the term for oil-clogged pores that become inflamed and form blemishes. The problem starts inside the hair follicles under the skin’s surface. Oil glands that open into the follicles release oil to protect the skin. Oil and skin cells clog the pores, trapping bacteria in the follicles, which, in turn, leads to swelling and acne blemishes.

The four main types of acne are:

* Whiteheads: round, white blemishes that form when hair follicles become clogged.

* Blackheads: round, dark blemishes that form when whiteheads reach the skin’s surface and touch air.


* Pimples: red, swollen bumps that form when plugged follicle walls break near the skin’s surface.

* Deep cysts: pimples filled with pus that form when plugged follicle walls break deep within the skin. Acne cysts are often large and painful. In some cases, they also cause scars.

In adults, blemishes most often appear on the face. For women, blemishes tend to appear on or near the chin, mouth, jawline and neck. In some women, hormonal changes may cause flare-ups.

For men, acne can appear anywhere on the face. In some men, the trunk and upper arms may also be affected.

Treatments can include medications, antibiotic creams and oral antibiotics. But there are other things you can do to prevent the condition, including:

* Choose gentle, oil-free soaps and facial cleansers.

* Avoid products that can irritate the skin, such as harsh acne scrubs and cleansers.

* Carefully read the labels of cosmetics and moisturizers. Those that are water-based and oil-free are your best choices. Look for the term “noncomedogenic,” which means they are not supposed to clog your pores.


* You know this from your teen days, but it’s worth repeating: Don’t squeeze or pick blemishes.

* If your doctor prescribes a treatment plan, follow it. Improvement takes diligence, time and patience.

Source: StayWell Co.