Q. Why do adult women struggle with acne?
A. Fluctuating hormones play a big role in adult acne in women. There is a common misperception that acne only occurs in teenagers when studies support that over 25% of adult women will deal with acne. We find that women who develop acne for the first time as adults are often especially frustrated and embarrassed by their acne. We all want to look our best and acne plus wrinkles just doesn’t seem fair!
Q. Why is it so important to customize treatment for individual patients?
A. Women have different needs depending on their age and their circumstances. Some topical acne medications such as retinol and benzoyl peroxides may be fine for teenagers but too drying for some adult skin. Furthermore we see many women who actually have acne and another condition like rosacea that has not been diagnosed. When you have two conditions at once, the treatment can be more challenging and needs to be tailored to the individual. Also, many of our adult patients do not want to be on long term antibiotics and are looking for alternatives to control their acne.
Q. What are the best treatments for acne in women?
A. The best treatment plan is specifically designed to address the individual patient’s needs and condition. Treatments often include using vitamin A based retinoids (which also help with photoaging!), gentle exfoliators such as glycolic acid, topical antibiotics, and hormonally based treatments. However, we also look at daily skin care regimens and how they can be optimized for better results. Common themes in treatment include: reducing redness and inflammation in the skin, providing gentle but effective exfoliation, improving skin barrier function and helping with the discoloration that can be so frustrating after an acne lesion clears. Finally, if acne has left permanent scars , we offer laser treatments that can greatly improve the appearance of these scars.
Q: Any other advice?
A. If you are getting breakouts, make an appointment with a dermatologist. There really is no substitute for professionally trained skin care experts. There are many treatments we can use to help your skin stay clear and look its best.
Board-certified Dermatologist Tina Shaffer, MD practices at Dermatology Consultants, one of the oldest and largest dermatology practices in the Twin Cities.