Acne: It's not just a problem for teens

Acne. It's a teenager thing, right? Well, it's an adult thing too, especially for women. A quarter of women in their 30's get it and it can plague people for decades. Experts at Mayo Clinic have tips on how to handle adult acne.

"We see people who never had problems with acne in their adolescence, but who develop it in their 20's, 30's, 40's even," said Mark Davis, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Davis says the medical world does not know exactly why adults get acne, but they do know how to treat it.

"We use all the same things that you use for adolescent acne. So we use topical treatments and then oral treatments if the topical treatments don't work by themselves," Davis said.

Dr. Davis says start with over the counter topical products that have benzoyl peroxide in them. Your doctor can also prescribe topical retinoids. If, after three of four months, your acne's not improving, the next method of attack is to add on prescription oral contraceptives or antibiotics. If after a couple more months there's still no improvement,

there are a number of treatment options including what's called spironolactone. In very rare cases, your doctor could prescribe isotretinoin, which is very effective but comes with side effects such as birth defects.

And if you've got a big event coming up and suddenly get a big huge pimple, steroid injections can work well, but they are risky.

"Because injecting a steroid can make that area of your skin become what we call atrophic, in other words, you might get a dimple in your skin instead of having the bump on your skin and that can be permanent."

Dr. Davis also says no matter how clean you keep your skin, acne still happens.

"Very difficult to prevent acne."

He suggests using a gentle soap. But when pimples do pop up, most adults can blot out the blemishes within weeks to months when armed with the proper tools of treatment.


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