What’s the difference between teen and adult acne?
There are plenty of things from our teen years to reminisce about. The seemingly endless time we spent with friends, for one, or the music and movies that defined The Best Time of Our Lives, and the wild experiments with personal style and fashion (thank goodness Instagram hadn’t been invented yet!)
But if there’s one thing we’re happy to never experience again, it’s adolescent acne. The hormonal fluctuations that accompanied puberty transformed otherwise blissful weeks and months into utter misery, and coupled with intense teenage emotions, made for a tremendously self-conscious time.
This is why it feels especially unfair that acne vulgaris has a second chance to reappear in our lives at adulthood. And yet, it’s not quite the same thing. It’s in knowing these differences that is the key to effectively treating adult acne.
While hormones are typically what kickstarts acne, the hormonal changes that teenagers experience are unique to puberty. So when puberty ends, the acne commonly fades away too.
Adult acne has far more potential triggers. Elevated hormones can be caused from different phases in a menstrual cycle, menopause, certain types of drugs, birth control, and even from consuming meat and dairy that include hormones. Consequently, women are disproportionately more likely to experience adult acne compared to men.
However there’s another, more equal opportunity cause for acne: stress. Chronic stress, inescapable in a busy lifestyle, may increase cortisol levels as well as androgens that kick start sebaceous glands into secreting more oil. And we know that it’s this overproduction that begin the process of acne.
Many adult sufferers of acne then employ anti-acne skincare marketed to teenagers, which in truth, only exacerbates the problem. Adult skin substantially more delicate and sensitive than teenage skins. Too much cleansing and scrubbing with aggressive oil-stripping surfactants tends to compromise the moisture barrier of adult skins, leading to irritation and inflammation.
Different types of acne
While whiteheads, blackheads, pustules and cystic acne can occur both at adolescence and adulthood, adult acne can also develop alongside rosacea, an intense redness on the T-zone, chest, ears, neck, or scalp.
Those prone to facial blushing and flushing are most likely to develop the condition, which can include stubborn redness not unlike a sunburn or heavy blushing. The acne it develops alongside may be cystic and deep, accompanied by a stinging sensation, and visible blood vessels may appear on the surface of the skin.
Teen acne is most commonly associated with breakouts on the T-zone, or around the forehead, nose and chin, but adult acne shows up on the lower part of the face, along the chin and jawline.
While adult acne can take many forms, all symptoms can be dealt with simple, efficacious skincare. A spot treatment is always a great bet, but always look for one with its active ingredients early in the list, indicating a high percentage. B&B Labs Express Blemish Spot Away Solution boasts anti-inflammatory zinc oxide high up on the ingredients list, making it brilliant for drying angry red spots, shrinking and fading them.
The supercharged formula is further bolstered with an array of soothing ingredients such as glycerin, baikal skullcap, peony root, and allantoin, as natural astringents witch hazel and willow bark supports zinc’s ability to stop zits in their tracks. Salicylic acid in the formula also encourages skin cell turnover, ensuring that the affected area is sufficiently exfoliated.
A more recent innovation in acne treatments is the use of topical probiotics to strengthen the skin’s integrity while diminishing the amount of bad bacteria. Look to Galactomyces Re-Texturizing Treatment Essence for all-around superstar treatment in this category. The nutrient-rich essence of pure 100% galactomyces ferment filtrate is made with fermented yeast from Asian rice bran, and is able to reduce sebum production, minimize breakouts, improve barrier function and smoothen roughness, including acne scars!