A frequent question I get from patients in their 30’s and 40’s is: “how can I be breaking out with Acne at my age?”

Well acne knows no age limit.   Although it is certainly a more common complaint in the teenage years, it can and does affect adults.  In fact between 5 to 10 percent of acne patients are 30 – 40 years old and adult acne is managed much the same way as teenage acne.

Male with acne on his forehead

Male with acne on his forehead

The principal hallmark of acne is plugged pores or comedones.  These are commonly called whiteheads or blackheads.  These pores then become inflamed, red and angry due to colonization and the effects of a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.

Treatment of acne centers around controlling this bacteria as well as preventing and correcting blockage of pores.  

Skin function can be optimized and blockage of pores improved by using Vitamin A derivatives or retinoids.    The most aggressive Vitamin A derivative is Accutane.  This is usually reserved for aggressive and hard to manage cases of acne that cause scarring  and other permanent skin changes.   Most cases of milder acne can be managed with topical retinoid creams or gels such as tretinoin.  Another key to prevent blockage of pores is to avoid oil based, greasy skin products.

Bacterial growth can be controlled using benzoyl peroxide and topical or oral antibiotics.  Of course antibiotics should be used cautiously and combining their use with benzoyl peroxide and retinoids helps manage the possibility of bacterial resistance.

Another way to manage bacterial growth is through the use of Blue light.  Light in the wavelength range of 405-470nm has been proven to have an antimicrobial effect.  This is commonly delivered using pulsed light devices.  Our broad band light device allows us to deliver these wavelengths precisely while controlling exposure to heat energy, making the treatment safe for all skin types.

Perioral dermatitis is another condition that can be seen in women in their 30’s and is worsened by use of multiple products including steroid creams. This breakout is typically seen around the mouth and chin area.

Having said all that- Not all breakouts are acne!

If you are having a breakout but don’t have blocked pores and or blackheads, it may be that your trouble is not caused by acne.

Rosacea is a condition that often presents itself in middle age and is characterized by redness. There are four common types of Rosacea and Papulopustular rosacea can look a lot like acne to the untrained eye. 
rosacea2 rosacea

If you are having trouble with breakouts, have your rash assessed by a doctor familiar with skin care. If you would like some help picking our products that will help your skin be its best, come in and let us advise you!

Your best you starts here!