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Why Adult Acne Is On The Rise And How To Combat It

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Dr Jaishree Sharad

It seems like a cruel prank from mother nature: At a time when you’re concerned with fine lines and wrinkles, you find yourself dealing with acne breakouts, too. We know, it’s terrible! After becoming a noteworthy phenomenon during the pandemic, some recent boost in blemishes can be linked back to it. If you’re in your late twenties, thirties or forties and still experiencing the kind of breakouts you were led to believe would end after high school, you’re far from alone. We speak to ace celebrity dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad who breaks down the how and why of adult acne.

What causes adult acne?

Dr Jaishree Sharad: Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. It can be seen in different forms such as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules, cysts, and nodules. Adult acne is a condition in which you get acne after 25 years of age or persistence of acne from teenage. Hormonal imbalance is the most important cause of adult acne. In females it could occur before menstruation, during pregnancy or even in the perimenopause phase or due to conditions such as PCOS. Stress increases cortisol hormone production which leads to sebum production and hence acne. Another topical reason for this could be acne cosmetica: application of oil-based creams, lotion and serums or even thick cream-based makeup can clog the pores and that can lead to acne in adults.

Does stress & skincare routine play a role in this?

Dr Jaishree Sharad: Stress is the second most common cause of acne. Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels. This sends signals to our brain and the brain then gives signals to the oil glands to secrete more oil and result in acne. Irrespective of our sex, when we are stressed, our hormones go haywire. So, when the androgens (male hormones) increase, acne is triggered even in your thirties and forties. A proper skin care regime is important to maintain hygiene and healthy skin. Using a gentle cleanser twice a day removes oil, dust, dirt, and grime from the face. Salicylic acid-based face washes help unclog pores and reduce the sebum production. Additionally, the use of retinoids and anti acne, antibacterial creams help control excessive breakouts and lastly but certainly not the least, acne is to be assessed with respect to the underlying cause and treated accordingly.

What are some of the best ways to care for the skin?

Dr Jaishree Sharad: With any kind of acne, following a right kinda skincare routine is critical to control, prevent and heal acne. Use a cleanser with salicylic acid once a day and follow it up with soap free cleanser once a day so it strikes a balance and keeps your skin pH normal. Use a gel-based moisturiser and gel/or water-based sunscreen while opting for water based serums as well. Avoid oil-based vitamin c serums. You can use niacinamide, AHA/BHA serums alternate nights that will help unclog your pores as it is lipophilic. Do not use AHA/BHA along with retinol.

Tips to keep away from acne.

Dr Jaishree Sharad:

Tip 1#: Maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes eating high-fiber foods such as sprouts, beans, lentils, cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, almonds, walnuts and olive oil.

Tip 2#: Fruits such as blueberries and strawberries and fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are great food options for those suffering from PCOS.

Tip 3#: Avoid lathering your face with products and touching your face, scrubbing and popping pimples. They tend to cause more infection and leave long lasting marks on the face.

Tip 4#: Exercising regularly, sleeping for at least 6 hours, stressing less, staying happy and practicing meditation and yoga.

But, always remember to consult a dermatologist both for the right skin care as well as prescription creams and medicines to control adult acne.

Meet our acne-fighting squad

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Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid + LHA Face

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Dot & Key 72Hr Hydrating Probiotics Oil-Free Am Pm Gel Moisturizer

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Nykaa SKINRX 2% Salicylic Acid Face Serum For Acne, Blackheads, Whiteheads & Clear Skin

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