You’ve graduated from college, landed a great job in your field, with benefits — no more waiting tables or brewing lattes for you — and maybe even bought your own home. Congratulations! You’re an adult now.
If that’s the case, however, how come your skin keeps breaking out? Isn’t acne supposed to be a teenage thing that goes away once you trade in your textbooks for a 401K?
According to a survey completed in the U.K. and reported by the Mirror, the number of women over the age of 35 seeking acne treatment has skyrocketed — by about 214%.
The website WhatClinic.com conducted the survey, asking nearly one hundred British skin clinics to report on trends in their patient demographics and treatment requests.
“Acne can really impact confidence, no matter what age you are,” says WhatClinic.com’s Emily Ross.
What’s fueling the spike in adult acne? The aging process for women typically starts in their mid 20s to early 30s and experts say it’s some of the same old culprits — stress and poor nutrition — combined with ever-increasing levels of environmental pollution. Additionally, hormones play a role in skin problems, which is why you likely had outbreaks during puberty, and perhaps continue to do so during the days leading up to your period. Chances are you can expect to experience acne during pregnancy and even menopause, as well.
So what can be done about adult acne? Usually, a topical retinoid cream will be prescribed to help unblock clogged pores, sometimes in combination with an oral antibiotic, if the acne is inflammatory. Of course, keeping your skin clean and keeping your pesky little fingers away from the zits will help, too.
Even after the breakouts have been quelled, you might still be left with acne scars. The WhatClinic.com survey also found a 152% increase in adults who were seeking treatment for such scars, and there are a number of ways to eliminate or reduce them. Dermabrasion or chemical peels can help, as can a relatively new procedure called “microneedling.” Microneedling uses special rollers or pens outfitted with tiny needles to ever-so-slightly damage the affected skin, thereby prompting the body’s production of collagen. The increased collagen production, in turn, will help to reduce the appearance of the acne scars, as well as that of wrinkles.
Microneedling can be performed at a dermatologists’ office, and has minimal recovery time — Tina A. Alster, an associate professor of dermatology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., told the Wall Street Journal that “If you do it on a Monday, you’ll be presentable with make-up Wednesday.”
However, the treatment doesn’t come cheap. Expect to shell out anywhere between $250 and a cool $1K for each session, depending on the extent of scarring. In other words, it’s a good thing you’re pulling in that grown-up salary instead of working for tips, now that you’re an adult.