Let’s Be Clear: Adult Acne is Treatable

The Derm Group

You’re not in high school anymore, so why on Earth are you breaking out? It might seem like one of life’s great mysteries, but in reality, acne is not reserved for braces-wearing, boundary-testing teens. And while it may not be fair to suffer like this, you’re definitely not without hope. When you’ve exhausted yourself trying over-the-counter facial wipes, cleansing products, face masks, or those ouch-inducing charcoal things, it’s time to call for backup. The Derm Group can help customize a program to rid you of your teenage angst, or at the very least, your adult acne.

Why Am I Getting Acne…Now?

When it comes to treating acne on your face or body, you have to consider the source. Acne can often be genetic, or triggered by hormones (hello monthly visitor), stress, certain foods, or even your current skin care routine. If you are washing or scrubbing your face too much, you’ll dry out your skin and cause it to produce more oil to compensate. And just like you need to watch what you put in your body, you need to watch what you put on it. Your skin-care products should be water-based, oil-free, and non-comedogenic.

Mild to Moderate Adult Acne

If you have a mild or moderate case of acne, there are a few highly successful methods used to clear up your skin. You can give your skin a new beginning by getting a chemical peel. This treatment removes a layer of dead skin cells to make way for newer, healthier ones. After a series of peels and recommended maintenance, you’ll be on your way to an acne-free face. That said, not everyone is a fan of chemical peels. You’ll have to endure a few days of peeling skin, which isn’t always practical. It’s a personal choice.

Your dermatologist might instead provide a combination of non-prescription and prescription topical medications, including Retin-A (AKA Renova or tretinoin). These can minimize fine lines, improve your skin’s overall tone and texture, as well as reduce oil production and bacteria. It even exfoliates your skin. Topical treatments are a budget-friendly and non-invasive option.

Additional treatment options for mild to moderate acne include laser treatments, photodynamic therapy, or intense pulsed light. These work a bit differently than a peel. They don’t remove the top layer of skin, but instead promote cell turnover and collagen production while killing acne-causing bacteria. So, you might experience a little redness but not nearly the downtime of a chemical peel.

Treating Severe Adult Acne

If chemical peels, light therapy, and topical treatments just aren’t getting the job done, your dermatologist might recommend an oral medication to knock out acne from the inside. At The Derm Group, we’ve seen incredible results when prescribing Isotretinoin—you may know it by its brand names, Accutane or Roaccutane.

Best for cystic acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and large bumps, this medication works by lowering the amount of oil your skin produces. After a few months of treatment (typically 6 months), most patients see a complete acne cure. All that to say there are side effects. Some people complain of dry eyes, headaches, or initial skin flare-ups, among other side effects. You should not take this medication while pregnant as it can cause birth defects. When being prescribed Isotretinoin for acne, your dermatologist will talk you through the pros and cons, and you will need regular monitoring to ensure the dosage is working for your specific needs.