Acne can continue into adulthood. It’s a possibility for many. It’s a reality for some. Sufferers often refer to it as the devil that just won’t get off their back despite best efforts of threats interspersed with cajoling. And if one or the other does seem to work and has you breathing easy for some time, it returns with as much vengeance if not more. The emotional burden of acne is repressive as it’s often seen as a problem of hygiene.
Hygiene though has very little to do with it. Adult acne plays out differently from adolescent acne. It’s more painful, deeply scarring and very hard to treat. It develops as a result of two or more complications intersecting randomly or systematically. The reasons could be hormonal, PCOS, pollution, stress, foods, medications, cosmetics, staph infection and in some rare cases, an incurable viral infection from the herpes virus. All of these reasons could either be causing the acne independently or a group of these together could be playing havoc with your skin.
Nailing the devil 101
Data mining: The first thing to do is to try and nail down the cause. A good, systematic way to do that is to maintain an acne journal. In it you will need to record your daily activity, foods, moods, general health. The last column would be a record of the first appearance of the breakout and its trajectory till it’s cured or if it leaves a scar. In adult acne, the breakouts might easily last for over 8 to 10 days.
Slaying it: The best way to minimise the breakout is by attending to it in an emergency mode. Keep a zit slayer at hand in your bag or car and home. At its first appearance, which might be characterised by general throbbing in the area, a warmth to touch, or redness, apply copious amounts of the slayer. Repeat every 3-4 hours after washing the area with warm water. Warm water helps relax the skin, prepping it well to allow the slayer to go deep in. Look for over the counter treatment that has sulfur/benzoyl peroxide/salicylic acid.
Caring for it: The devil slays your efforts and successfully makes a big appearance with a head and redness. You’ve got to now care for it! Yes, you do, like it or not. Do not try to kill it by picking or bursting or digging. It’s going to give you a scar to remember it by. It needs some TLC. Warm compression helps heal it faster, applying a more powerful topical anti-bacterial helps minimise bacterial infection and heals it a tad faster. Some types of acne, like cystic or nodular, might need you to get on an antibiotic course as well.
Saying goodbye: After some good care, the breakout will begin to recede by drying out or you might need to get it popped, especially if it’s nodular. Please let the doctor do the needful. Careless handling of the breakout can lead to deep scarring. As it dries up, handle it ever so gently so as not to disturb the healing skin that begins to grow on it. Continue cleansing, medicating and moisturising as recommended by your aesthetician or dermatologist. Let it recede till it becomes a faint brown on your skin with no redness whatsoever. You can now officially say goodbye to it. It’s gone. Finally.
Memories: Memory of adult breakouts are evident either as light scars or sometimes noticeable dark, pitted ones. The light scars can completely disappear with proper exfoliation and skin rejuvenating creams or treatments. It needs for you to take care of the scars for approximately 4 to 8 weeks for these to completely diminish, leaving no memory of the breakout whatsoever. However, if you develop pitted dark scars, take care of the scar just the same way. The pigmentation will get lighter with time. The pits will need laser treatment, a couple or more for complete removal.
Need awesome help?
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