10 Things You Need to Know About Adult Acne

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Let's Have an Honest Conversation About Adult Acne
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Photographed by Raphael Delormé & Thierno Sy for Savoir Flair

While some manage to put the horrors of acne flares and aggravated skin conditions behind them after puberty, the truth of the matter is one in five women between the ages of 25 and 40 suffers from adult acne. There are the occasional outbursts of acne that occur throughout life due to hormonal changes and stress, and more serious outbreaks that are harder to get rid of. It can be frustrating to encounter acne after adolescence, but the good news is you don’t have to suffer with it forever. Whether you’re treating minor or major breakouts, adult acne expert, Dr. Alex Khadavi, can help. We spoke to Dr. Khadavi, resident expert on Vivandi Trading’s medical advisory board, who is a board-certified dermatologist, founder and CEO of Advanced Skin and Hair, Inc. and the inventor of Clearogen, about treatments and prevention for adult acne – which include a range of treatments from holistic (such as diet) to medical. Read on for expert advice from Dr. Khadavi on how to fight back against acne to achieve the best skin possible.

What exactly is adult acne?
When acne occurs in adulthood, it is referred to as adult acne. It occurs in both men and women of any age past puberty and the cause and treatment of it is actually the same as any other type of acne.

What are the main causes?
Acne regardless of name, type, location, or age of the patient is simply due to our hormones. The hormones don’t directly cause acne, but their influence on skin results in a process that leads to acne. Androgen hormones and particularly a hormonal by-product known as DHT stimulate the oil glands to produce excessive amounts of oil (also known as sebum). This excessive oil clogs the pores, producing whiteheads and blackheads which provide food and a suitable environment for the acne-causing bacteria. The bacteria that is normally present on the skin digests the oil and produces waste and toxins leading to the inflammation we know as acne.

Can you still get it even if you’re very diligent with your skincare?
That depends on your skin care regimen. If you use proper anti-acne products, you can certainly prevent and treat acne, but simply washing your skin and using average skincare products may reduce the incidents and severity of acne, but cannot prevent or treat it.

Some people who never had acne as teenagers get it as adults. Why is this?
Again it is hormones that cause acne and its production, as well as the skin’s varying reaction to hormones over time.

What role does diet play?
A good diet is important for healthy skin, but a good or bad diet cannot prevent or cause acne.

Some people believe that exposure to the sun can help. Is this true?
The UV radiation in sunlight does kill the bacteria to some extent, but it will not be enough to prevent or treat acne and it does not address the root cause of acne, which are hormones. Also, unprotected sun exposure can be more harmful than beneficial, leading to more serious problems such as skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.

What are the best ways to prevent and treat adult acne?
There are many acne treatments on the market including topical treatments and antibiotic medications that work mainly by killing the bacteria, opening the pores, and reducing inflammation. However, their benefits are short-lived and the acne returns, because they don’t address the root cause of it. To address the hormones that cause acne, many dermatologists prescribe Birth Control or Aldactone to their patients. Clearogen is the only topical product that uses natural ingredients to kill the bacteria, open the pores, reduce inflammation and address the hormones.

What kind of cosmetics can an acne sufferer use?
Non-comedogenic cosmetics are the best for acne sufferers. However, it is best to reduce the use of all cosmetics, especially with active acne.

More aggressive forms of medication like Roaccutane are fast becoming the go-to medications for acne treatment in the Middle East. What are your thoughts on this?
Roccutane works by permanently shrinking the oil glands so that they produce less oil, and thereby it is seen to cure acne. However, it is a dangerous medication and needs to be used under very close supervision of doctors with regular checkups and blood tests to detect its potential side effects. Roccutane should only be used as a last resort for those with severe acne who do not respond to regular treatments.

What can be done to treat visible scarring, and can this scarring be prevented?
Proper and early treatment of acne can prevent new acne scars. But no topical product can get rid of old acne scars. The best treatment to treat visible scars is laser resurfacing on its own, or in combination with peels.

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