What is the difference between adult acne and teen acne?
Acne is no fun at any age. But knowing how it behaves in your adult years vs. your teen years can help you stay in the clear.
Thought you could outgrow acne? If only. In today’s world, chronic stress, hormonal changes, a busy lifestyle and an increasingly polluted environment can lead to more adult acne, congestion and uneven skin tone. In general, skin cell turnover rate slows with age, so adults are slower to heal from breakouts than they were when they were teenagers. This helps explain why post-breakout marks stay around a lot longer than they used to.
Adult acne is also linked to hormonal fluctuations and chronic stress, which are more common among women. Breakouts tend to be inflammatory (red, sensitive) and predominantly located around the mouth, chin and jaw line. Treating adult acne can be challenging because adults also tend to have sensitivity, dehydration, and pigmentation issues that lead to signs of premature ageing.
How to clear adult acne:
- Focus on spot treatment and balancing the skin.
- Make sure your other skin care needs are met.
- Avoid “picking” or “squeezing” breakouts, which can result in more breakouts, scarring or redness. Instead, see a professional skin therapist for an extraction.
- Avoid over-drying skin by choosing products that contain less drying ingredients such as Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid to help remove dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt, as well as Thymol and Terpineol to control bacteria.
- If you’re combatting signs of skin ageing, look for ingredients such as Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol to help balance uneven skin tone. Retinol can also help reduce the appearance of premature ageing.
Teen acne is greatly related to puberty, part-genetic and part-hormonal. The break out is typically on the face, chest and back, and have more blackheads and whiteheads. Such breakouts often arise because androgens, the “male” hormones that both guys and girls have, surge during adolescence, causing excess production of sebum.
Teens have faster cell turnover and more resilient skin than adults, which means they recover quickly from breakouts. After the teen years, acne tends to improve because teen hormonal changes have levelled off and no longer fuel breakouts.
How to clear teen acne:
- Focus on maintaining good skin care habits.
- Avoid products that contain pore-clogging ingredients like Lanolin and Mineral Oil. Stripping ingredients such as Alcohol – commonly found in astringent toners – can cause skin to produce more oil. Artificial fragrances and colours can also further irritate breakout-prone skin.
- Look for ingredients like Salicylic Acid to keep dead skin cells and bacteria from accumulating.
- Moisturise and wear SPF daily. Dehydration and environmental stress can trigger more sebum production and make existing breakouts look worse. Use an oil-free SPF moisturiser to help protect and balance your skin.