Clearing Up the Mystery of Adult Acne
How do you treat it?
Graf said treating adult acne is different than teenage acne. She explained adult skin is more fragile and dry and cannot handle the harsh cleansing agents you may have used when you were younger.
Treating adult acne at home can be done with many over-the-counter products, Graf said. She suggested looking for a cleanser with "salicylic-acid," which helps to exfoliate dead skin, thus preventing your pores from being clogged. Another product for spot treatments is benzoyl peroxide. However, Graf said, you shouldn't use treatments that use higher amounts than 2.5 percent, as it tends to be very drying on the skin. Graf also suggested home microdermabrasion kits or light peels for exfoliating your skin.
"But be very careful not to cause irritation," she said, "as that will make the condition worse."
Graf added certain birth control pills can help, too. They can suppress the hormones known as "androgens" that stimulate the oil glands.
However, if over-the-counter methods don't work, you need to consult a dermatologist, Graf said, who may prescribe antibiotics or special topical creams.
She said in her own practice, she recommends a nighttime treatment of a retinoid - such as Retin A, along with a spot treatment or topical antibiotic. Newer nighttime treatments, she said, combine a retinoid with an antibiotic. This combination, she said, works synergistically.
Retinoids, she said, are still extremely relevant treatments for acne "and always will be."
Additionally, she said, there are also in-office procedures, such as if someone has a painful cyst, he or she can be given a painless shot with a tiny amount of cortisone to take down the inflammation.
Graf is also using a new technology called Isolaz.
Graf told CBS News, "I love this treatment. It features breakthrough technology that vacuums out all the bacteria, and a laser to kill the bacteria. It's also great for reducing redness caused by the acne inflammation."
She added, the product is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved laser acne treatment.
Isolaz, Graf said usually works in about five treatments. She added maintenance treatments may also be necessary afterward, but the treatment, she said, "works beautifully."
Graf also addressed Accutane, a product used successfully to treat more severe acne, that was recently taken off the market. She said the product was removed for "purely financial reasons" -- not because of safety.
She said the company realized that because of all the generic forms on the market, it didn't make sense to keep the product.
"Anyone who is on Accutane doesn't have to worry," Graf said. "They can get one of the many generic forms available."
As for letting your adult acne go untreated, Graf doesn't recommend it. She said, although you may outgrow it, untreated acne can still leave scars.
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