While an often painful, volcanic face of acne is mostly associated with the raging hormones of teens, it is not solely restricted to them.
Many people are afflicted in their adulthood, and it can often be the root of self esteem and mental health issues. Not confined to any particular sex or race, acne affects millions of individuals across the world. The biggest problems are the ugly pimples and awful scarring it usually leaves behind. In this article, we look at the common types of adult acnes as well as how to get rid of them.
The Different Types of Adult Acne
Although pimples or zits are the most common type of acne to affect many adults, there are other types as well. The most common is called acne vulgaris and it only features comedones, which is the most basic form of lesions. Below are other types of adult acne that we can get:
Lesions are simply the small skin patches affected by acne. However, the term lesion is not confined to acne alone. Acne lesions are external manifestation comedones. Comedones are the sebaceous follicles that are plugged by excess sebum.
These can also be called whiteheads or blackheads, and this depends on whether the pore is closed or open. Blackheads refer to pores whose openings are blocked by mixture of sebum and keratin. It is usually black at the surface. Whiteheads, on the other hand, refer to closed pores filled with sebaceous glands secretions and usually swells underneath the surface. Do not squeeze or pick at comedones. This is because doing so opens up the pore and if the condition is not sterile enough, it can lead to more infections.
A papule refers to a small, solid and usually inflamed elevation of the skin. It usually doesn’t contain any pus. Small papules can also be seen in clusters, and this is because of the tissue’s reaction to the skin.
4. Maculae (single macula)
A macula is simply a red spot on your skin and it usually results from an acne lesion. They are flat and red and usually stands out from the nearby skin. The maculae, especially when they occur on your face, give the skin an inflamed appearance.
These are small inflamed elevations of skin containing pus. The pus consists of dead skin cells, white blood cells and bacteria. Pustules usually form around hair and sebaceous follicles.
These are lesions that are shaped like capsules and often contain semi-liquid or liquid pus just like the one seen in pustules. The difference between cysts and pustules is that they are larger and can also be infected. Cysts also extend deeper into the skin and often leave scar tissues in their wake. The worst form of acne is nodulocystic acne. It resists all treatments except isotretinoin.
The nodule refers to a solid lesion, and it’s usually very painful. They extend into deeper layers of the skin and can cause massive tissue destruction. Attempting to remove them is very painful and often leaves behind scars. Like nodulocystic acne, nodular acne is also severe and responds only to isotretinoin treatment.
How to Treat Adult Acne
Topical Treatment Options
1. Salicylic Acid
This is an anti-inflammatory chemical applied topically and is used in many over-the-counter acne treatment products. It relieves irritation in the affected area. Several face washes contain salicylic acid. Think products like Pro-Activ – they are salicylic acid based products.
2. Benzoyl Peroxide
This is a beta-hydroxyl acid which is designed to penetrate deep into the skin of the patient. It also clears clogged pores and even kills germs that cause infection. Many acne medications contain this chemical. Benzoyl Peroxide can be bought off the shelf at your local chemist.
Tretinoin is a crème derivative of vitamin A that clears the pores to prevent any acne breakouts. But tretinoin treatment can have serious side effects like photo-sensitivity and birth defects. For this reason, women should consult with their doctors before using the treatment. This treatment is only available via prescription from your Doctor.
Oral Treatment Options for Adult Acne
1. The Contraceptive Pill
Contraceptives are known to neutralise sex hormone effects that lead to pore inflammation. They are very effective in helping women contain adult acne flare-ups.
Minocycline and tetracycline are the two best antibiotics to combat adult acne. But while they are very effective, they also have nasty side effects like causing skin sensitivity in most patients.
This is a vitamin A derivative orally administered to prevent excessive oil production that usually accumulates in the pores. This medication is recommended to patients suffering from severe cystic acne. But just like other acne medications, isotretinoin has its own fair share of side effects including photo-sensitivity and liver damage. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant as it can cause birth defects.
Acne outbreaks are most common with teens but even adults are at risk. You can be attacked irrespective of your race, age or sex.
Knowing the different types of acnes and how to treat them can help you better manage the condition.