By Malena Ogryzlo-Harbers
While the awkwardness of your teenage years may be in the past, adult acne can bring an unpleasant and recurring reminder of adolescence.
Being a Hollywood star is not an assurance that you will have a smooth complexion. Despite enlisting the best dietitians, nutritionists, doctors and dermatologists, Tinseltown abounds with acne-prone stars. Beautiful Cameron Diaz has imperfect skin, seen only on high-definition TV; Britney Spears and Brad Pitt both suffer from the condition; and Vanessa Williams, Jessica Simpson, Alicia Keys and Diddy have all declared their acne problems as spokesmodels for the anti-acne line ProActiv.
Adult acne affects women and men over the age of 25 and most often afflicts the jaw line and chin region. Even if you did not have acne as an adolescent, the condition can appear out of the blue. While it’s generally caused by the same factors as teenage acne – stress, hormones, environment – it can also be the result of switching to anti-aging skin care products.
This intensely frustrating condition doesn’t have a cure but can definitely be controlled. While many over-the-counter acne products cater to the younger crowd, adult acne needs to be treated differently. “Adult skin is not the same as adolescent skin, so even though you’re dealing with the same condition, you’re dealing with a different skin type,” says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. “Products you would use on adolescent skin are too drying for adult skin because you don’t have the oil output that you do as a teenager.”
Thankfully, there are a variety of treatments, found both in your dermatologist’s office and on beauty counters, that can treat adult acne.
TREATMENT OPTIONS – Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett
Topical treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide creams, and oral treatments like antibiotics or Accutane take approximately three months to produce results. If you can’t wait and want to go foundation-free ASAP, look into some of the latest technology to help get rid of acne faster.
1. INTENSE PULSED-LIGHT TREATMENT WITH LEVULAN
Levulan, a photosynthesizing drug that is activated by a special wavelength of light, is put on the skin and sits at the base of the oil gland. This causes a reaction to the bacteria that produces acne and triggers the oil gland to decrease oil output. As opposed to blue light, which is commonly used to treat acne, this process can treat scars at the same time. Patients see results in one to two weeks. 60 minutes, $650 each (one to four treatments needed).
2. DIAMOND PEELS “After you extract a blackhead it starts to fill up within 48 hours,” says Kellett. Try a diamond peel, which uses fine crystals of aluminum oxide to slough off dead skin cells and blackheads. Stay away from regular microdermabrasion using crystals – they are too harsh and irritating to use on acne-prone skin. 30 minutes start at $150 each.
3. OXYGEN TREAMTENT A much more cost-effective treatment, oxygen increases skin oxygenation, decreasing bacteria and acne. 30 minutes, $99 each. Prices listed from DLK on Avenue. For more information, visit www.dlkonavenue.com or call 416-440-2597.
ANTI-AGING VS. ACNE
While anti-aging products can irritate acne-prone skin, there are still ways to help counteract the effects of aging. Aging skin turns over more slowly, so be sure to cleanse and exfoliate twice a day to help get rid of dead skin cells. Always use a water-based, oil-free moisturizer with anti-oxidants to help clear the skin. Products with retinol or vitamin A work as an anti-aging ingredient to treat scars and help prevent blackheads.
Add pure vitamin A drops to your oil-free moisturizer at night, says Kellett, and use vitamin C in the morning. This powerful anti-oxidant helps heal the skin and fade any lingering acne marks. Try: Clear Gel Moisturizer Water Based Oil-Free Anti-Oxidant Formula $56 and Clear Clinical Vitamin A Booster $250, www.dlkonavenue.com