Many Women Suffer From Acne After Teen Years

hormones and acne in womenWhile we associate acne with our teenage years, many women suffer from acne well beyond their teens.

According to a presentation by dermatologist Dr. Bethanee Jean Schlosser at the American Academy of Dermatology’s recent annual meeting, adult-onset acne is becoming more common among women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

A 2011 study that looked at photos of women from age 10 to 70 for signs of acne found the following:

  • 45% of women aged 21-30 had acne
  • 26% of women aged 31-40 had acne
  • 12% of women aged 41-50 had acne

The Link Between Hormones & Acne in Women

Hormones contribute to some of the primary causes of acne. For instance, hormones can cause excess oil gland production, and they can cause shedded skin cells to become sticky and clog up in the hair follicle.

Male hormones, called androgens, are present in both men and women and can cause acne by overstimulating the oil glands and changing the development of skin cells around hair follicles.

Acne Treatments for Women

Treatments for acne in women should be specific to the type and severity of the acne, according to Dr. Schlosser. In addition, other conditions, such as pregnancy, rosacea, and age must also be considered, as some common topical acne treatments may not be compatible with these conditions.

One common acne treatment is topical retinoids, which, according to Dr. Schlosser, is the preferred treatment for the long-term prevention of acne.

Another possible treatment for women’s acne is certain oral contraceptives. The FDA has approved several oral contraceptives for this use, as they change the levels and activity of hormones that can bring on acne.

An alternative to oral and topical medications is pulsed light therapy, which attacks acne-causing bacteria and inhibits future acne breakouts.

You may also be able to prevent acne by following some of these skin care tips:

  • Use noncomedogenic and sensitive skin products.
  • Use a mild cleanser, twice a day.
  • Use a noncomedogenic moisturizer daily.
  • Avoid using cleansers with scrubbing particles, which can irritate the skin.

And remember, no matter how tempting, don’t pick, squeeze, or pop acne! You can scar your skin. If you already have acne scars, there are treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing, to minimize the scarring.

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