Acne in adults


Acne is a skin condition that is also commonly known as pimples or zits. It may be in the form of whiteheads, blackheads or even red and inflamed patches. Usually, they surface when the pores on our skin get clogged. Our hair follicles usually also release oil that helps in removing the old and dead skin cells as a continual process. The oil or sebaceous glands are attached to the hair follicles on the skin and secrete sebum. At times however this gland can get clogged or secrete excess oils which leads to accumulation of dirt and even bacteria. Though commonly seen in teenagers during adolescent, acne is not uncommon in adults.


Some of the most probable cause of acne in adults include high levels of androgens or male hormones, stress and depression like symptoms, cosmetics, allergic reactions or an infection or increase is exposure to resistant bacteria that may cause acne. They are also sometimes seen to be associated with the menstrual cycle and change in hormone levels as a result of that, usually such presentation of acne is seen in the chin and mouth area. Pregnancy or change in pregnancy hormones is also one major factor. Sometimes acne are also seen as a reoccurance of the acne growth spurt seen during adolescence or some adults even present with acne who had never had acne before even during childhood. The exact causes sometimes remain poorly defined. Obesity, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, medical conditions such PCOS etc can also trigger acne in young adults.

Certain drugs and medicines particularly steroids, anti-epileptic medications, tuberculosis medication including rifampin and isoniazid, and certain iodine or lithium containing drugs can make one susceptible to acne as a possible side effect.

Other than physiological or psychological stressors, sometimes chronic physical stress such as excessive sweating or straps of a bag or holders or carriers of heavy istruments that put physicall stress on the skin can cause acne. This condition is also referred to as acne mechanica.

Treatment and course of action

As part of the self care, one should keep the area clean and hydrates, avoid excessive perspiration or contact with other areas, avoid breakage or pricking the pimples and also avoid tight clothing.

Any acne in adulthood should not be ignored if it persists for too long. Any acne episode, especially if the incidence is the first, should be examined by your health care provider, preferably a specialist or dermatologist. Adult acne are harder to treat, and repeated reoccurrences, particularly when the cause remain undiagnosed, can be hard to manage or treat, in most cases a topical gel or antibiotic, sometimes an oral antibiotic is prescribed. In severe cases, a patient is given a potent systemic drug such as isotretinoin. Most of these drugs act of killing the source bateria, drying up the sebaceous oils and clearing off the dead skin.

Acne can be misdiagnosed, especially in adults. A condition called folliculitis, which has acne like symptoms but is basically a bacterial infection of the hair follicles along with inflammation. The treatment for this is slightly different and specific and should be considered after a careful examination of the doctor. most acne do clear up in a few weeks, while your health care provider should be notified soon if the basic home treatments or over the counter drugs do not help.


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