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Dear Derm: Is There Anything I Can Do About Adult Acne?

Still suffering from blemish-prone skin but feel that you're too old to be getting spots? Unsure where to find products for adult acne treatment that won't leave your skin red raw?

It's more common than you think. 

Statistics show that 50 per cent of women are diagnosed with some form of acne during their adult lives, something that often leads to low or dwindling self-esteem. 

Acne can be caused by anything from diet and lifestyle to genetics and hormones, making it unpredictable and tricky to treat. And, it only gets more complicated as you get older.

We spoke to Dublin-based skincare specialist Ciara Darcy on how you can treat adult acne from the comfort of your own home. 

"Unfortunately, acne can come out of nowhere for a variety of reasons," Ciara begins. 

"Pregnancy, puberty and stress being the top culprits for most people. Acne is a skin condition that consists of inflammatory (spots so sore that they feel like they have a heartbeat) and non-inflammatory (blackheads and whiteheads).

"It most commonly develops on areas of the body that contain a lot of sebaceous (oil) glands so we are talking face, neck, back & shoulders.

"When there is a blockage of the hair follicle, oil and dead skin cells get trapped inside the pore.

"Hormonal breakouts – usually found along the jawline and chin – are extremely common because of the overproduction of sebum. This happens because of a rise in androgen levels. A rise in androgen levels means more sebum is produced."

Ciara's advice to tackle acne is as follows:

- Manage bacteria by choosing products containing hinikitol and salicylic acid.

- Hinikitol is a hero ingredient of mine because it is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

- Salicylic acid loves oil so it will slide into the pore and break it down. If your skin is oily, using a face wash with salicylic acid daily will avoid a build-up of oils.

- Cleansing in the morning is so so important to breakdown oil and sweat from during the night. Not removing excess oils from the skin will mean congestion - blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules and cysts. Only using water isn't enough because water and oil don't mix so the oils will stay on your skin.

- Retinol to stimulate cell turnover. So there is no time for dead skin cells to block those pores.

- Zinc oxide in your SPF to protect against UVA and UVB rays. 

- Also, look at external factors, are you stressed? Have you started taking contraception? Are you pregnant? If so chat to your doctor. 

- Book a skin consultation and start a treatment plan along with homecare products. I'm a big fan of AlumierMD peels, they are the only ones I do because the results with them for acne (and all skin conditions) has been amazing.

To go into further detail, talk to a skin specialist or send me an email and we can have a chat - [email protected]

Main image by @irinashayk

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