July 16, 2014

How Teenage Acne Turns Into Adult Acne...

One of the major changes in the bodies of teenagers (especially during puberty) is the development and dilation of hair follicles (pores with accompanying hairs) within the skin. 

Testosterone, the male hormone coursing through adolescent veins, triggers new and more abundant hair growth within teens, as well as increases in the skin's natural oil production. In the meanwhile, enzymes produced in this process tell pores to get bigger in order to accommodate the new hair and the greater oil flow. 

The benefit to this skin madness is that those hair follicles that are more developed and dilated don't break out as easily! This happens because there is more room for proper flow and the excretion of oil and dead skin cells, along with more room for bacteria-killing oxygen to get in and air out the pores. In other words, the skin is better able to clean itself out!

In females, pores that are a little too small and contain more male hormone receptors (like at the sides of the chin, lower cheeks, and jawline) don't receive enough oxygen, get backed up with oil and dead skin cells, and then end up breaking out more easily. 

To make matters worse, there is a genetic propensity for dead skin cells to be a little more sticky, and collect with the excess oil inside pores. This is a condition called Retention Hyperkeratosis.  What should normally occur is that the dead skin cells come to the surface of the skin to be sloughed off throughout the day.  The cause of Retention Hyperkeratosis, why dead skin cells become sticky in some people and not others, is still being studied. 

With Retention Hyperkeratosis inflammation inside the pores can become involved, as well as a proliferation of bacteria once a pore becomes swollen enough from this inflammation to let all the air out. The bacteria involved in acne are anaerobic, meaning they live and thrive without air. The issue of whether teens with acne have more bacteria inside pores compared to others is still unknown. 

"I'm not a teenager anymore.  Now what?"

The important thing for those who suffer from Adult Acne to remember is that the genetic tendency to easily accumulate oil and dead skin cells inside pores becomes less severe as the person ages, but it pretty much stays around until pre-menopause (or in some people, until menopause).  It doesn't mean all is hopeless, but it does mean you need to be ever vigilant in guarding your skin from pore cloggers, dehydrators and irritants. Retention Hyperkeratosis, and the Acne that accompanies it, can be controlled.

Every single thing that goes on the skin, body products, hand products, haircare products, and makeup, and of course, skincare, need to be monitored by a skincare professional expert in Adult Acne issues (like me!). Additionally, your diet must be taken into account, as foods rich in iodine, sugar, and for some people, dairy, can aggravate acne conditions. Cleansers must be thorough without stripping the skin of oils, hydration must be maintained using the right non-clogging moisturizers and/or serums, and the right exfoliation for your particular Acne condition is a constant requirement.

Need completely personalized help in choosing the right skincare products along with advice on the right haircare, body care and makeup that won't thwart your efforts?  I invented my Eval by Email® skincare coaching service specially for Adults who left their teen years behind decades ago, but are still breaking out. 

Know of anyone else who has been plagued by teen and acne but still are breaking out in their 30s, 40s or 50s?  Please share this post!