Acne is, unfortunately, not a skin problem experienced only by teenagers. Increasingly women in their 30’s and 40’s are developing adult acne, often out of the blue, having not experienced it in their teens.
Dermatologists suggest that the increasing amounts of chemicals and cosmetics we put on our skin on a daily basis plus changing hormonal patterns of modern women caused by the pill (often coming off it after a protracted period can lead to adult acne), HRT and later pregnancies could be to blame.
Stress is also cited as a possible reason for the increase in adult acne as modern women have to juggle demanding careers with childcare.
The jury is out on whether diet plays any part in the onset of adult acne, although the frequent radical diet changes from low carb to low fat endeavours of modern women (the average woman goes on 15 diets in a lifetime) to loose weight may also be having a negative effect on skin as radical changes in diet can cause shifts in hormonal balances.
But there is no ‘spot on’ answer as to why adult women are becoming spottier, only theories.[quote]However although getting spots in your 30’s seems unfair, unexpected and inexplicable, the good news is that the problem (and solution) of adult onset acne is being increasingly targeted by modern skincare technologies and is more responsive to treatments than teen acne[/quote]
Unlike teen acne, which is often temporary but severe and often unresponsive to treatments due to its purely hormonal cause, adult acne is often less severe and can be dramatically improved with modern targeted skincare treatments over a longer period of time.
Spot treatments aimed at teens are not suitable for adult skin as they contain harsh anti-bacterial agents, typically salicylic acid and/or peroxide (bleach), which although are effective at killing all bacteria on the skin’s surface, they strip the skin of all natural oils and leave adult skin incredibly dry and flaky and cause premature ageing.
The problem with adult acne is not simply due to hormonally linked oily skin, which is the case for teen acne. Most adult acne develops on either combination skin, so oily in parts and dry in others, or can also develop on very dry skin, such as if often the case with the skin condition acne rosacea.[quote]Adult acne needs to be approached in a completely new and different way, namely by protecting, preserving and strengthening the skin around the spots while also armouring it against bacteria rather than simply killing all the bacteria on the skin’s surface with bleach-based products.[/quote]
Here are four modern technologies which have been developed for daily maintenance skincare products, as opposed to aggressive temporary anti-bacterial treatments, for the long term management of adult acne without destroying or drying out skin.
Smart anti-microbials are ingredients that do not kill good skin flora and only target bad skin flora. The skin, like the stomach, contains both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria is necessary for strong health skin and to prevent dryness and premature ageing. The bad bacteria is what gets into acne lesions and leads to pus and swelling (i.e spots) .[quote]Smart anti-microbials are able to distinguish between the two bacteria, leaving good skin bacteria to flourish and multiply, while killing off the bad bacteria.[/quote]
Anti-microbial silver is one of these smart-antimicrobials and is now being used in modern anti-acne products for adult acne as a means of controlling inflammation and puss. Used daily as part of a skincare routine smart anti-microbial treatments can help prevent or lessen acne outbreaks and make outbreaks less severe. Skin Shop’s Silver Serum is a new smart-microbial anti-acne treatment containing pure anti-microbial silver.
Bacterial shields are made by a special bacterial fermentation process and are known as polysaccharides. One of these bacterial shields that has been developed for use in adult anti-acne skin care products is called Teflose, derived from eth word ‘teflon’ as it forms a Teflon-like anti-bacterial shield over vulnerable areas of acne-prone skin to stop bad bacteria latching on, while not damaging o rinhibiting the healthy balance of skin under the shield.
Telflose has also been shown to help prevent the formation of biofilms,which dermatologists are now researching as a possible cause of persistent and treatment-resistant acne.
Skin Prebiotics[quote]Skin prebiotics are literally ‘food’ for good skin bacteria.[/quote]
A skin prebiotic works much the same as a food supplement prebiotic for the gut, except it’s for the skin.
Good skin bacteria feeds on the prebiotic and so grows faster making skin stronger and less prone to infection or weakened skin barrier, while bad skin bacteria are reduced as they don’t ‘palate’ the skin prebiotic as well as the good skin bacteria.
Skin prebiotics maintain a healthy balance of good and bad skin bacteria which helps skin fight off environmental damage which can leads to weak spots and allow bad bacteria to rush in a multiple leading to spots and inflammation. One of the most recent skin prebiotics is an ingredient called Biolin, which contains five different types of prebiotic that are perfect foods for feeding good skin bacteria.
Besides various fatty substances and water, sebum also contains salts, amino acids and urea.[quote]Like any other natural substance, sebum rots when exposed to warmth, which is what often makes spots swell up, become painful and go yellow, green or black (blackheads).[/quote]
Sebum is a very attractive breeding ground for bacteria as it has a highly nutritious content for bacteria to feed off so it starts to rot quite quickly. Fresh sebum is almost clear or white. It goes yellow and sometimes green or black when it rots.[quote]A new breed of anti-acne products contain special ingredients that act as ‘sebum preservers, so they effectively stop the sebum rotting so quickly and so prevent the formation of puss and swelling.[/quote]
One such sebum preserver is a product called Seboclear, which contains plant extracts plantago lanceolata and mahonia aquifolium, which in combination have an antioxidising and alkaloid action on the sebum that prevents it from rotting.