The general notion about acne is that it is a part and parcel of growing up. Acne is thus associated with adolescent age group and when you say someone that your face was clear in your teens but started breaking out in adulthood, people will raise eyebrows. Well, adult acne is a variant of acne and its incidence is increasing! Adult acne is also called acne tarda and it can either develop after 35 years age when its called "late-onset acne" or can continue beyond 25 years of age when it is termed as "persistent acne".
Among various factors like excessive oil secretion by your glands, genetic predisposition, bacterial proliferation, stress, obesity, food habits and other environmental factors; hormones (especially the male sex hormone, androgen) are considered the most important culprit in adult female acne. This is why the adult female acne is also usually associated with other hormonally-influenced diseases like hirsutism or excessive facial hair, acanthosis nigricans (leathery, thick dark skin predominantly on skin folds of neck), or overt polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Adult female acne is usually localised around chin, with painful nodules and cysts that is also corroborative of hormonal origin of this acne variant.
If you are suffering from adult acne, you would need to go for a hormonal evaluation recommended by your dermatologist and if needed in association with a gynaecologist. It is important to identify the underlying triggers since they can a sign of a more serious ongoing hormonal imbalance and illlness in your body,
After hormonal evaluation, your dermatologist will prescribe an anti-acne treatment regimen to you. Most of the times, hormonal triggers of adult acne need to be tackled with hormonal medications to bring out a balance in your endocrine system. Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are a very commonly prescribed medication for hormonal acne. Apart from OCPs, anti-androgens like Spironolactone are another very useful drugs to help control adult female acne.
Apart from these hormonal prescription drugs, isotretinoin is also recommended in adult acne but usually kept as second line considering the child-bearing age and teratogenic potential of isotretinoin.
Facewash, suncreen and topical anti-acne medicines are recommneded keeping your skin type in mind.
In general, anti-acne treatment regimen should be taken for 3-6 months to control your acne and bring hormonal balance, hence patience with the treatment and avoidance of doctor shopping is very important.
Though troublesome, adult female acne is treatable and needs proper attention. Hence, if you are suffering from persistent acne breakouts in your adulthood, do not ignore the sign and get in touch with a dermatologist sooner.
At ACNECONSULT, dermatologists who specialise in acne treatment, provide acne consultation and treatment over remote consultation/ video consultation to patients worldwide.