Virtually 100% of all adults had acne at one point, but most of them have forgotten just how much it can affect the way you feel when you have acne.
Unfortunately, there are millions of adults whose daily experience still includes acne ? and it?s an increasingly common experience. The reasons for this increase are still unclear to researchers, but it?s frequently tied up in the hormones.
Not surprisingly, then, acne affects adult women four times as often as men. Only 3% of middle-age men experience active acne, whereas 12% of women do. That?s almost one out of every eight adult women.
If you look only at the group of women between 35 and 44 years old, they represent a full 10% of all office visits for acne in the US.
The acne they see in the mirror is, in many ways, more frustrating even that most teenage acne. It tends to be less involved with the blackheads and whiteheads and more a matter of angry, inflammatory spots across the lower face and/or chin.
At an emotional level, adults with acne share very similar experiences with teenagers. Because the face comprises such a large part of who we see ourselves to be, when it appears to be damaged or malfunctioning it impacts on self confidence and self-perception.
When studies have analyzed the magnitude of that emotional burden, they find that acne is on a par with such illnesses as epilepsy, asthma, diabetes and arthritis. Indeed, one study found that 7.1% of those with active acne acknowledged having had suicidal thoughts within the past week ? a far higher rate than the general population.
All these facts confirm the wisdom of the person with adult acne gaining control over it. There?s currently no cure for acne, but it can almost always be effectively controlled.
For mild to moderate adult acne, over-the-counter treatment systems can be helpful. Fairly simple acne treatment systems are often quite effective, especially for the teenager with acne.
But because adult skin can be particularly susceptible to the irritating effects of their active ingredients (like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid), many look for acne systems with added fundamental built-in skincare components, such as bioactive botanicals and nutrients.
When adult skin is under siege BOTH from acne AND the side effects of the medications used to treat it, it makes a lot of sense to nurture the skin in every way possible ? so long as the agents used don?t promote the acne itself.
Acne is, by its nature, a variable disease. It?s worse for a while. Then, it?s better for a while. Which makes it a challenge for all but the more obsessive among us to keep consistent in using treatment. But, it?s critical to be consistent.
It?s also very important to understand that it can take time for any treatment to reach its maximum benefit. Many will use a treatment system for a few weeks and give up, deciding that it doesn?t work. But, whether it?s prescription or over-the-counter, a treatment approach may take several months to bring maximum results.
Finally, if acne isn?t responding to treatment by non-prescription acne medications, it?s critical to seek specialized medical help. Dermatologists have an increasingly effective range of prescription medications available.
Acne isn?t just about teenagers and spoiled proms. It impacts millions of lives far into adulthood. Gratefully, effective treatment options now lessen its impact.
Randall Wilkinson, MD is CEO of Trienelle Skincare, Inc. He led the development of the new, adjustable AcneRecovery System.