Decoding Sensitive Skin
by Vanessa Craft
Waking up to discover a range of un-welcome and unsightly inhabitants on your face isn’t just discomforting, it’s downright insulting: Acne …for adults?
Recently, I’ve had several frustrated colleagues pop by my office looking for a solution to a sudden onset of acne – unfortunately, it’s a common myth that pimples remain confined to the teenage years.
“Many of the 40-plus women at my clinic complain about it”, says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto. “They say, ‘I’m getting wrinkles and I’ve still got acne? It doesn’t seem fair.”
What brings on adult acne? Good old hormones, of course. When they’re thrown off balance by fluctuating estrogen and testosterone levels (in peri- or post-menopause, for example), the skin produces more oil and break-outs can occur.
Ironically, the super rich creams so often found the anti-aging isles can also be a factor. Using oil-free, water-based products can help reduce flare-ups.
Keep in mind too that mature skin takes longer to repair itself after a break-out. “You can be left with a red spot for months,” says Kellett, who recommends visiting a dermatologist for advice as well as more advanced treatments such as Microdermabrasion and Intense Pulse Light to improve skin texture, and using a 35 per cent topical vitamin C solution to speed healing.
Don’t forget the basics: Drink plenty of water, eat your veggies and take a supplement that includes vitamins B. Sleep with your hair pulled back off your face and try to touch your skin only with clean hands.
At home, a successful anti-acne regimen includes reducing oil, eliminating bacteria (five per cent benzoyl peroxide is the gold standard) and exfoliating to aid in the removal of debris from pores. Here are some grown-up products that may also help.
Encourage healthy skin cell turnover with Clear Clinical Exfoliating Gel Cleanser ($42), which sloughs off dead skin without stripping essential oils, benzoyl peroxide, found in its Acne Treatment Cream ($75), treats and prevents break-outs.