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How to Prevent Acne Flare-ups After 40

How to Prevent Acne Flare-ups After 40

Adult acne affects women significantly more often than men, with one in four women struggling with acne after reaching 40.

Why is it happening to you, and can you prevent it? That’s what Theresa Durchhalter, DO, FAAD, at Allure Dermatology is here to explore. She explains the causes of adult acne and offers tips to help you prevent breakouts or heal them faster.

Why you have adult acne

Adult acne causes the same clogged pores, pimples, and deep nodules as adolescent acne. It also flares up for many of the same reasons.

These are the most common causes of acne in people 40 and older:

Hormone fluctuations

Women’s hormone levels change during each menstrual cycle. Their hormones also start fluctuating in the years before menopause, which is any time after 40.

In both cases, estrogen levels drop, and androgen levels rise. Androgens (male hormones that women usually have in small amounts) stimulate oil production in your hair follicles.

The excess oil mixes with dead skin cells, clogging the follicles and causing acne. Acne becomes inflamed when bacteria get trapped in the oil and skin.

You can develop hormone-related acne if you start or stop taking birth control pills. The hormonal imbalances associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also well-known for causing acne.

Long-lasting stress

When you feel stressed, your emotions trigger the release of hormones, including androgens. In most cases, stress disappears, and your body’s chemistry returns to normal.

Problems begin when you’re frequently stressed, and the hormones stay elevated. Then, they may cause a wide range of physical problems, including acne.

Self-care products

You may be sensitive to chemicals in the products you use on your skin and hair. Some products also contain ingredients that clog pores and make you more susceptible to acne.

Long-term corticosteroids

Women account for more than 75% of all people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. These conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease, to name a few) are often treated with corticosteroids. These medications cause acne when taken in high doses or for a long time.

Tips to prevent acne flare-ups

Here are five tips for preventing acne outbreaks:

1. Keep up a daily skin care routine

One of the best ways to prevent acne is by regularly eliminating dirt, dead skin, and excess oil. Wash your face twice daily using warm water and non-irritating products. Don’t over scrub because that can trigger acne.

It’s also important to shampoo your hair regularly to prevent the oil from your hair causing acne on your forehead.

2. Beware of the products you use

Be sure your skin and hair products are gentle and don’t have ingredients that may cause a flare-up. Look for products that won’t clog pores (non-comedogenic) or oil-free. Your makeup should also be non-comedogenic.

3. Use over-the-counter acne medications

It takes time for acne medications to work, so stick with one product long enough to see if it helps before giving up and trying another. You should expect to see an improvement in four weeks, and it could take several months for your face to completely clear up. 

Over-the-counter acne medications contain different active ingredients. The three most common include:

If one doesn’t work after four weeks, try a product with a different active ingredient.

4. Avoid sugary foods and milk

Eating foods that boost your blood sugar (candy, desserts, and white rice and flour) and drinking cow’s milk increase your risk for acne. Oddly enough, products made from milk, like cheese and yogurt, don’t seem to have the same effect.

5. Schedule an appointment for treatment

You should seek medical care if you have any type of acne that doesn’t improve, especially if you have inflammation and/or severe acne because they cause scarring.

Prescription-strength medications, antibacterial treatments, and medications to restore hormonal balance are several effective treatments for adult acne. We also offer cosmetic treatments like chemical peels that eliminate acne while also restoring a healthy, vibrant complexion.

If you need help with adult acne, schedule an appointment by calling the office or connecting through online booking.

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