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Bad news: acne does not only appear during adolescence; it can make a comeback in adulthood. The good news: you can now treat zits and aging at the same time.
Acne may come back in later years because of different causes: airplane travel, hormonal imbalance, and stress. In fact, these factors are the reasons why breakouts have plagued 17 million adult Americans. Of course, it is a double whammy if the skin also shows signs of aging. As Washington-based dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi puts it, “I see hundreds of Americans in their 20s and 30s who are still battling pimples while also worrying about wrinkles.”
Since an adult’s skin is less elastic as it were during puberty, it needs a less drying solution, which should also be effective as a counter-attack against flare-ups. Here are some of the methods that can target both aging and acne:
Granular exfoliants are generally harsh for sensitive skin, so skip these in favor of peels.
“Acids like glycolic and lactic, typically found in at-home peels, plump up skin moisture, stimulate collagen production, and smoothens the skin’s surface,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Virgil Hatcher. He adds that these acids also help eliminate dead skin cells that trap acne-producing oil.
In-office peels, which are stronger than the at-home versions, also deliver anti-pimple and anti-aging power in one punch. Prescription retinoids like Tazorac, Differin, Retin-A, and Renova are a more aggressive option.
It is a myth that oily skin does not wrinkle. Some women also found out that certain products intended for oil control actually accelerate the aging process. According to another New York-based dermatologist, Dr. Patricia Wexler, the last thing aging skin needs is a drying anti-acne cream.
Teenagers may tolerate generous amounts of benzoyl peroxide, but strong dry-out formulas like it can produce more oil for older skin, resulting in more breakouts. Hence, oil-free hydrators with antioxidants are the solution. Glowing, not shiny, face looks youthful.
Wexler also recommends skin care products with “anti-inflammatory” or dual-acting ingredients that reduce the redness caused by acne. Products with such ingredient also slow down the production of enzymes that break collagens, as well as restore the skin’s even skin tone, thereby making one look younger.
Everything from wrinkles to skin cancer has been caused by the sun and its UV rays. Hence, Wexler advises to never leave home without applying a sun block or a sunscreen with a powerful SPF.
Since older skin does not heal as quickly, it is more prone to acne scarring, says Dr. Dennis Gross, a dermatologist from New York.
Over-the-counter brighteners might improve irregularities, but it is still better to consult a dermatologist for severe pigmentation issues, particularly for those who are on birth control, which can aggravate the situation. Laser treatments like Fraxel reduce scars and spots, but there are side effects. A new technology called Portrait Plasma (costs about $3000 for three treatments) utilizes plasma energy (painlessly because it deep-heats the skin’s tissue) to heal scars and promote new collagen growth.
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