When growing up, having acne seemed like a right of passage through adolescence. But, as the most common skin disorder in the United States, acne often plagues more than just our teenage years. Nearly a third of adults suffer from adult acne during their lifetime, with women being much more likely to suffer from adult acne than men.
Certified Dermatologist and Clinical Instructor of Dermatology from NYC, Dr. Hadley King, MD tells in detail about adult acne, including cystic acne, and gives useful advice.
What are some tips on how to get rid of cystic acne?
Generally cystic acne is caused by hormones. A few of the best treatments for cystic acne which are available to women include oral contraceptive pills or another hormonal option named spironolactone. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is also a very effective cystic acne treatment for adults. Many people consider Accutane to be the best acne treatment available, but Accutane carries the risk of significant possible side effects and therefore is usually reserved for acne that is unresponsive to other treatments. Lastly, Intralesional corticosteroids are also helpful for treating individual cystic acne lesions.
Is salicylic acid better than benzoyl peroxide for treating adult acne?
This depends on each individual patient. Acne Treatments with Salicylic Acid are better for adults with dry or sensitive skin. Adults with very sensitive or dry skin may want to avoid acne treatments containing either ingredient. Benzoyl Peroxide sensitivity is common in many adults, therefore I would recommend that people hold off on using acne treatments with Benzoyl Peroxide, until they can consult with their dermatologist or skin care professional.
Can I use medicated acne face wash while taking prescription acne medication?
If you are on a regimen of prescription topical acne medications, then it may be wise to avoid face washes that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide and stick to a bland and gentle face wash, such as Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Wash. The combination of prescription acne medications and medicated acne face washes containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may be too irritating for the skin.
Otherwise it is okay to try an acne face wash containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Keep in mind that many people have sensitivities to benzoyl peroxide and will not be able to tolerate a benzoyl peroxide wash.
How long does it take before I will know if my new acne regimen is working?
Give your new acne treatment regimen a month before judging how effective it is for you.
The most effective way to get rid of adult acne and prevent it from coming back, is to seek out professional acne treatments from a skin care professional who can evaluate your individual situation and prescribe a treatment plan that is best suited to your needs.
What can I do for dark spots caused by acne?
For treating dark marks left over from old acne, Hydroquinone remains the gold standard. There are several other options available, including kojic acid and azelaic acid. Topical medications in the retin-A family are also helpful in treating dark spots caused by acne.
It is important to note that picking and squeezing acne lesions increases the risk for leaving dark marks after the acne lesion resolves. Do not pick or squeeze your acne!