Treating adult acne

Before-and-after photographs showing a woman's fading acne scars after receiving treatment.
PHOTO: Treating adult acne

Our skin is a complex structure and it is constantly changing as we age. Hence we are compelled to change our skincare regimen and products every few years.

Most of us had to fight a daily battle with pimples in our adolescent years. However, acne is a problem not only faced by teenagers. It can re-surface in adulthood and, unfortunately, tends to be more common in adult women.

Late onset acne is often due to hormones and occurs mostly in the lower half of the face: Jawline, chin, lower cheeks and the sides of the neck.

Some of these pimples tend to be deep seated and painful.

Studies have shown that perimenstrual flaring of acne may coincide with late onset acne and tends to be higher in women above 33 compared to those between 20 and 33.

But late onset acne - when associated with other features like weight gain, excessive unwanted hair growth and irregular or no periods - may be a sign of an underlying medical or hormonal condition that should be checked.

The best way to treat late onset acne is to take oral contraceptive pills which help to control the hormonal fluctuations.

If patients are intolerant of the pills' side effects or there are contraindications then treating with anti-androgens such as spironolactone can be considered. Traditional treatments like topical creams and oral antibiotics can be continued simultaneously.

General skincare tips which might help:

  • Exfoliate regularly - this will prevent accumulation of dead cells which clog up pores.
  • Low glycaemic diet - high glycaemic index foods have been postulated in some clinical studies to provoke acne.
  • Avoid oily skincare products especially around menses time.
  • Consider regular topical retinoids which help to remove dead cells and reduce sebum. This is a prescription cream which can cause irritation so ask your doctor if your skin is suitable.

This monthly column by Dr Malini Munisamy, medical director of AesCure Medical and Aesthetic Clinic, will focus on taking a holistic approach to help women with health-related matters. The clinic is at 72 Amoy Street, Tel: 6220-5969.


Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.