WHAT THE FUNK IS GOING ON WITH MY FACE?
If you’re reading this right now with angst over why the hell your skin is breaking out like a pubescent teen – I feel your pain! What’s more frustrating is that for most of you, the products you used to use for acne in your teens – don’t work in your mid-20s, 30s, 40s or 50s!
Pimples, boils, blackheads and whiteheads were supposed to have their lime light, when I was sticking up posters, of Dylan and Brandon from Beverly Hills 90210. I can still hear my mother screaming at me for using double sided sticky tape on freshly painted walls!
So what’s the deal! What bodily explanation could there be for this? Is there some sort of hormonal passage that’s been undiscovered by the medical world? Are we the new zit-freak mutants, embryonic in the evolution of man - destined for puss?
Assistant professor of dermatology and director of Women’s Skin Health at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr Bethanee Jean Schlosser, says “Teenagers are the age group most commonly thought to struggle the most with acne, but dermatologists are finding that late-onset or adult-onset acne is becoming increasingly common in women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s.”
According to the American Dermatology association, there are 6 main reasons why we develop acne well into our 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
1. Fluctuating Hormones
This means your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause, after discontinuing (or starting) birth control pills.
“Acne is strongly influenced by hormonal factors in women, regardless of age.” Says Dr Joshua Zeichner, a New York based dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at the department of dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Centre. He explains that unfortunately acne is part of your adult life as much as it was part of your adolescent years. Even newborn babies can get acne! So unless you oddly stop producing hormones - your future looks pretty “bumpy”.
Worries from work, worldly anxiety, financial pressures, life’s hassles and general freaking-out raises the cortisol levels in the body. In turn, cortisol creates breakouts. Did you know that lack of sleep also triggers acne? This is because sleeping reduces cortisol!
3. Hair and skin care products
Try to choose products that are labelled as “Non-comedogenic”, “Oil-free” or “Won’t clog pores”.
4. Medication side effects
So this might not be something that most people realise but some medications can cause acne.
5. Undiagnosed medical condition
Sometimes, acne is a sign of an underlying medical condition. Once the medical condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne often clears.
The British Association of dermatologist say that 81% of acne is attributed to genetic factors rather than environmental ones. Grrrrr - yes this does mean that if your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, granny, pop, weird cousin or crazy Aunty had acne, it’s in your gene pool tool! Probably lounging with a Pina Colada and a fat Cuban cigar!