You might be surprised to know that even adults in the age range of 50 and above can suffer from acne. Studies show that it is usually women more than men battling adult acne in this age group. Like in case of acne at other ages, the acne in adults aged 50 and over has different causative factors.
Causes or acne in adults aged 50 and above
Exogenous factors– These include stress levels, certain cosmetics and trauma from manipulation.
- Stress– Chronic stress leads to increased adrenal androgens resulting in over-activation of sebaceous glands. The stress also contributes to increased cortisol levels and subsequent induction of comedones or pimples.
- Medicines and drugs– Many classes of drugs are known to contribute to adult acne in ages 50 and above. In pre-menopausal women, the use of birth control pills, injected or implanted intrauterine devices (IUDs) etc are known to cause increased acne flare-ups. In peri-menopausal women taking testosterone injections for increasing their libido, the chances of developing acne tend to go higher. Women and men suffering from bipolar disorders are often treated with Lithium which is known to increase adult acne. Many chemotherapy drugs are also known to trigger pustular acne which can be treated using oral antibiotics.
- Trauma– Traumatic acne is called acne excoriee. Compulsive manipulation of skin is known to give rise to acne scarring and lesions. It is usually seen in women having obsessive compulsive disorder or other mental illness. Many women undergoing excessive facial treatments are also known to suffer from such exacerbated acne.
- Cosmetics– Greasy sunscreens and moisturizers can also contribute to adult acne.
Endogenous factors: These include heredity, hormonal imbalances etc.
- Genes– Nearly 50% patients with adult onset acne reported at least one close relative having mature acne. Thus, heredity plays an important role in acne in the age 50 and above.
- Inflammation and bacterial colonization– Several other factors such as abnormal keratization, bacterial colonization and inflammation also trigger acne in adults aged 50 and over. Some studies also postulated that increased adult acne on mature skin could be a result of increased carriage of antibacterial resistant bacteria as well as changes in response to P.acne, the bacterial agent that causes acne.
- Hormonal influences– Starting or stopping birth control medicines, menopause and ovarian cysts etc can all lead to hormonal imbalances which in turn affect sebum production on the skin. This is the main cause of acne in adults aged 50 and above.
What can one do to treat and prevent adult acne in women aged 50 and above?
There are many simple things one can do to prevent and treat adult acne caused by endogenous factors:
- Wash your skin with dermatologist approved and non-comedogenic cleansers. Follow the cleansing-moisturizing routine twice a day. Avoid sleeping with the makeup on.
- Use only cosmetics labeled as non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic. Avoid heavy or pore clogging anti-aging creams or even certain hair products.
- For hormonal factors causing the acne, talk to your dermatologist who can prescribe the right oral and topical acne medicine for you.
Vitamin A: The miraculous product for aging skin
Vitamin A derivatives (including Retinol or tretinoin) are being hailed as the miraculous anti aging treatments for mature skin. These can not just be used for preventing fine lines and wrinkles but also for preventing and healing adult acne. Isotretinoin, another derivative of Vitamin A, is sold under the brand name of Accutane and is being prescribed extensively for preventing acne in women aged 50 and above. Accutane must however be used very cautiously, since it has been linked with birth defects in younger women who used it in their first trimester of pregnancy. Gels and emollient creams with lower concentrations can however be safely used to prevent and heal acne scars and blemishes in aging skin.
These are the main causes, treatment and prevention of acne in adults aged 50 and above.