Teen Acne vs Adult Acne

by Wendy Travis

adult teen acne

You may think you can bid farewell to the occasional acne breakout once you move past adolescence, but think again. Many individuals continue to deal with acne well into their adult years, and some experience breakouts even after a long hiatus from the skin condition. Even if you were fairly lucky during your teen years and had few breakout issues, you might see the condition flare in your 20s, 30s and beyond. To help you deal with acne at any age, Healthy Skin Portal explains the differences between adult and teen acne and the best way to approach each one.

Causes of Acne
The cause of acne is the same at any age, and involves overzealous sebaceous glands that produce an excess amount of oil. When this oil mixes with dead skin cells and other debris on the face, it clogs the skin's pores. Bacteria build up underneath the surface of the skin, behind the clogged pores, which leads to breakouts. Although the root cause of acne is consistent at any age, this is where the similarity ends.

Teen Acne
Teen acne usually features a number of common characteristics, including:

  • Breakouts typically occur on the forehead, nose and chin, known as the T-zone
  • The catalyst for teen acne is usually the hormonal fluctuations that are common during puberty – when puberty is over, the acne often disappears
  • May appear as blackheads, whiteheads, pustules or cystic acne
  • Usually responds well to over the counter treatment options

Because teenagers typically have oily skin, the over the counter acne solutions are geared toward this skin type. While these work well for the majority of teens, the formulas may be too harsh for adult skin that tends to be drier and more sensitive.

Adult Acne
Adult acne differs somewhat from teen acne, and usually sports the following characteristics:

  • Breakouts are more common on the lower part of the face, including the chin and jaw line
  • May be due to the hormonal fluctuations of menstrual cycles, pregnancy or menopause
  • May be exacerbated by stress
  • In addition to blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and cystic acne, adults may develop a form of rosacea with their acne breakouts

Because adults often have dry or combination skin, the usual over the counter treatments often do little more than irritate the complexion. Fortunately, there are additional options for adults in treating acne breakouts.

Acne Treatment Options
For teens, the best acne treatment may be an over the counter solution containing benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide introduces oxygen into the pores of the skin, which kills off the P. acnes bacteria that lead to breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide also works as an exfoliating agent, helping the skin shed dead, dry skin cells that clog pores and lead to breakouts. This substance must be used continuously to clear current breakouts and prevent further ones from occurring.

Adults may find that benzoyl peroxide doesn't have the same positive effect for them. In addition to killing off the bacteria that cause acne, this substance also accelerates the effects of aging on the skin and can be irritating to drier complexions. Benzoyl peroxide may also lead to pigmentation, which also makes the skin look older. Instead of over the counter products containing this ingredient, adults may turn to cosmetic procedures that are effective at keeping acne breakouts at bay.

Cosmetic Options
To help control acne in adults, many turn to their dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons for help. There are many possible solutions for treating adult acne, including:

  • Microdermabrasion – a skin resurfacing treatment that uses a small device to remove outer skin cells, leaving softer, blemish-free skin underneath
  • Chemical Peels – work in a similar fashion to microdermabrasion, but use a chemical solution rather than a tool to remove outer skin layers
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing – uses a high intensity laser beam to exfoliate the skin, remove dead, dry skin cells and reveal a softer, smoother complexion underneath
  • Smoothbeam Laser Treatment – a new treatment option for moderate to severe acne that treats current pimples and prevents future breakouts for up to two years

In addition to effectively treating acne, these procedures also work to reverse the signs of aging and produce softer, smoother skin overall. It is no wonder that many adults dealing with this "teen" affliction are turning to their local skin care clinics for solutions.

Acne is a painful, embarrassing condition at any age. Fortunately, there are many good treatments to keep acne breakouts at bay, no matter when those nasty pimples decide to make an appearance. To learn more, contact us today to set up your FREE acne treatment consultation with a skin care specialist near you!

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