Once considered as primarily a teenage skin condition, pustular acne affects more number of adults today than before. Ask any dermatologist and s/he will probably admit that half their practice consists of adult women. Pustular adult acne is seen primarily around the chin, cheeks and mouth, but might also affect the nose and, in rare cases, the forehead.
Symptoms of pustular adult acne
Adult acne pustules are characterized by following symptoms:
- The condition often starts with blackheads on the nose. These develop or erupt into pustules or pus filled bumps.
- Pustules of adult acne are usually quite painful, red and hard.
- The centre of the acne cysts has an opening. Popping the cyst can help bring the pus out, but it can also spread the acnes bacteria to other parts of the skin.
- Acne pustules on chin, cheeks and nose usually subside on their own within a week
- Some women get pustular adult acne around the time of their monthly period. This is also the time when their sugar cravings are higher, causing the popular belief that chocolate or other sugary items could trigger acne.
- Pustular acne often leaves behind ugly scars, which could take months even years to fade.
Now let us discuss what you can do at home to resolve the acne pustules around the nose and chin.
Home remedies for treating adult pustular acne
Step 1: Steam Inhalation
Steaming the facial skin regularly can help remove dirt and open up clogged pores which normal cleansing often fails to do. Simply place your face over a bowl of boiling water (or you can use special steamers made especially for the purpose of facial steaming). The steam removes oil, dirt and blackheads. Some women tend to experience acne breakouts after facial steaming of this sort since the process dries out the skin. This can be avoided by splashing cold water following the steaming to seal the pores and prevent new acne flare ups.
Step 2: Use Essential oils
Now use some tea tree oil or lavender oil on the acne pustules. If you are using pure oils sourced from reputed vendors, make sure you dilute the oils using some olive or coconut oil (which act as carrier oils). Tea tree oil is antibacterial and can help eliminate the bacteria causing the acne. Lavender oil can help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. Allow the oil to sit on the pustular acne for up to 30 minutes. Wash the face using a gentle, non-alcoholic cleanser.
Step 3: Apply some soothing calamine lotion
Calamine lotion is another soothing remedy that can help reduce acne scarring. Allow the lotion to remain on the acne pustules for 3-4 hours. Wash off the lotion afterward but make sure you follow this remedy two times each day.
Preventing Pustular adult acne
The aforementioned steps are used for treating existing cystic or pustular adult acne on chin or other parts of the face. However, there are also some steps you can take to prevent future pustular acne breakouts:
- Reduce your sugar intake. While many experts believe that there is no relation between diet and adult acne pustules, some women have seen positive results by keeping a daily food journal. This includes writing down all items you eat daily and then watching out for acne flare-ups patterns. Eliminating foods using this technique can help reduce breakouts.
- Follow a regular exercise regime– What does exercise have to do with adult acne? Exercise of any sort, mainly the aerobic kind, can help reduce stress and release good endorphins. These, in turn, can counter negative effects of the hormones that cause acne flare ups. Exercise can also lead to sweating which helps eliminate toxins from the body.
- Follow a healthy diet– A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, such as the Mediterranean diet is known to reduce many kinds of skin problems including acne. This diet includes plenty of salads, olive oils, fatty fish, walnuts and other healthy nuts, fruits and seeds. These foods can help replenish the Omega 3 essential fatty acid levels in the body to give you a healthy skin. You could also take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement as per your doctor’s advice.
- Consume plenty of water- This might sound clichéd but it is one of the most important remedies that can flush out waste to give you a clearer, acne-free skin. You can also include plenty of green tea, sugar free juices, lemonade, etc in the diet.
- Use over the counter remedies Creams containing Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are known to fight acne. However, these proven remedies also tend to dry up the skin, so make sure you use a non-comedogenic and non acnegenic moisturizer to replenish the moisture in the skin.
If the pustular adult acne is so severe that it is affecting your confidence, it is best to seek the guidance of an experienced dermatologist who can put you on the right oral/topical medication. Some extreme forms of pustular acne might require antibiotics, steroids, birth control medicines or even laser treatment for healing.