Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
When you think of pimples and acne, the
first image that usually comes to mind is the face of a teenager struggling
with zits. A common misperception is that acne usually disappears after
puberty. These days, adults with acne have become the norm. In fact, recent statistics reported by the
American Dermatology Association suggest that the median age for patients
treated for acne has significantly increased over the last decade: from
approximately 20.5 to 26.5 years of age. Doctors report that most adults (both
men and women) who have experienced acne as teens (with oily skin prone to
breakouts) are more likely to experience a reoccurrence in their adult
Even more troubling are reports that
doctors are increasingly treating acne flare-ups in patients in there 50’s and 60’s!
Acne is now meeting the onset of wrinkles and menopause. This is very
surprising – to say the least. As an adult with acne, you probably thought
you’d be free of pimples after high school.
Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at the causes of your acne and how
you can banish acne for
The main culprit responsible for
teenage acne remains usually in place for adult acne. This leading factor is a
hormonal imbalance resulting in too many androgens (male hormone testosterone)
in the blood. This “overdose” of testosterone may over stimulate your sebaceous
glands to produce more and more sebum. The sebum clogs the pores and also
eagerly combines with dead skin cells, dirt and other skin debris creating a
great environment for acne bacteria to thrive.
The result? Inflammation, pimples, cysts, comedones and in a lighter form whiteheads and
blackheads. The difference that underlines the differentiation between adult
and adolescent hormonal imbalances is the different factors that may actually
be creating this imbalance. For teens – this will be the formation and
maturation of their adult sexual hormonal system. For adults - This is what we will dive into
here, as there are many additional
factors you need to consider when dealing with adult acne. And a final note - adolescent acne and adult acne
affect both women and men and are now unfortunately a daily predicament for
millions of Americans and hundred of millions around the globe.
For women acne sufferers, the inflammation of an acne breakout may occur frequently during peri-menopause, but it also happens just before your period. It is during this time that the sebaceous glands over-respond to androgens, and this can extend well into adulthood. According to one study, women overthe age of 33 are more likely to get premenstrual pimples than younger women.These acne occurrences usually “pop-up” in the form of deep (painful) cystic acne around the chin, neck, and back. In addition, drastic dieting, excessive exercise, sleep deprivation or even dramatic changes in lifestyle can aggravate acne in women.
Over 35% of all adult acne
sufferers are men and many of them also suffer from a hormonal imbalance (increase
androgens/testosterone levels) due to the changes in their bodies due to aging,
life style, excessive dieting and bodybuilding.
These factors can increase the free testosterone levels and as a result,
over stimulate sebaceous glands to over produce sebum initiating the acne
If you’re waking up to pimples, chances
are your everyday stress is starting to take a toll on you. When you’re
stressed (or when your body is stressed as it often is in puberty), your adrenal
gland creates the stress hormone cortisol and pumps it into the body to help cope
with stress. Unfortunately, traces of testosterone (an androgen or male
hormone) are emitted with the cortisol.
Testosterone in the skin can be metabolized to dihydrotestosterone,
which causes the sebaceous glands to enlarge and increase sebum production. This can cause clogged pores where P. acnes bacteria
(the bacteria responsible for acne) grows, leading to inflammation and pimples.
You May Have an Underlying Condition like Diabetes, High
Testosterone or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). As we know, sugar increases
the production of insulin, and the overproduction of insulin is known
as diabetes. More and more evidence shows that insulin may also boost
oil-triggering male hormones, which in turn can trigger excessive pore-clogging
and inflammation. Other health issues with a
hormonal component, such as high testosterone levels or polycystic ovarian
syndrome, are often-overlooked causes of acne. PCOS affects 5 to 10% of
women. Many women don’t even know they have it. If your acne is accompanied by
excessive hair growth or irregular periods, it's worth
talking to your doctor, who may do a blood test or ultrasound to determine whether or not you have
Super Acne? Seriously? The name sounds
like something from a teenage nightmare. But this type of acne can be
accompanied by cysts and nodules of 5mm or more in diameter, and having it can
be socially debilitating. In worst cases, if left untreated, the Super Acne bug
can cause infections all
over the body. Severe P. acnes bacteria has also been associated with infections
of artificial joints and heart valves (endocarditis), as well as eye infections
and chest infections. Although it is often disregarded as a harmless bystander
when found in blood and tissue swabs taken from patients, we should not rule
out this bug in the diagnosis of disease.
Recent studies show that it might also be involved in
other important conditions such as prostate cancer. Even more frightening is its uber-resistance
to antibiotics. When antibiotics are completely ineffective,
the body is left defenseless against P. acnes
bacteria and potentially other diseases. Acne sufferers may become desperate and
try their hand at over-the-counter remedies that actually do not address causes
of acne or try controversial prescription drugs like Diane 35 and Accutane
(Diane 35 is not approved in the USA and due to the serious side effects
(including stroke and death) has been taken off the market in a number of
countries. Accutane is known as a vitamin A derivative
that works by controlling the oil in the sebaceous glands. Accutane is part of
a class of medications called retinoids and originally was marketed as a
chemotherapy drug. Unfortunately, it’s been linked to suicides (especially in
young males), the development of Crohn’s disease, and severe birth
defects/malformations. Other adverse effects include peeling skin, dry eyes,
and headaches. In 2009, as more and more lawsuits were filed, the FDA was
forced to issue a black box warning, and eventually Accutane’s manufacturer
stopped making the product all-together. Generic brands of the medication —
Amnesteem, Claravis and Sotret – are still available, but with the risk of
these scary side effects, why risk it?
Unlike AcnEase, most acne medications are not natural and trigger adverse side effects. In
fact, there is a list of medicines that are actually known to cause acne. Some
medications that may cause acne inflammation include:
Remember:You should never switch or stop a
medication without first speaking to your doctor. Your doctor will determine if
the benefits of the medicine outweigh the cons. If not, he or she will
recommend a medicine with less side effects.
treatments like AcnEase are always a safe bet. Unlike its competitors, AcnEase
is made of botanicals, is compatible with most
medications, and works internally to relieve the causes
of your acne (hormone imbalance, malnutrition, etc.), not just the symptoms. It
has no side effects, has been clinically tested for efficacy and safety, and over
95% of AcnEase users see clear skin or a significant improvement in their
breakouts in one month.
tell us? How long have you been
struggling with acne and what have you done to get rid of it? We’re here to help!