Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, and suitably it is a condition that comes with a wide range of treatment options to choose from. What treatment you choose depends on a variety of factors: what caused your acne, how long has it been going on, and the severity of your symptoms. While teenage acne is often the result of fluctuating hormones, adult acne can be a deeper issue, requiring a more complicated approach.
Adult Acne Treatment #1: Nutritional Care
Adult acne can be treated through a healthy diet and nutritional therapy. While specific foods help to prevent the formation of whiteheads and blackheads, and improve tissue healing, other foods can cause acne symptoms to flare up and worsen. Avoid red meats, dairy products, white bread, white sugar, excessive alcohol and fast foods. Studies have linked all these foods with increasing the severity of acne symptoms. Focus on foods that are rich in nutrients and free of additives and chemicals. Vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits contain beneficial vitamins such as A, C, E, B, and minerals such as Zinc, Iron and Selenium which promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and support immune health. People with poor nutritional status are more likely to suffer from acne, so get cracking, and eat smart.
Adult Acne Treatment #2: Balance Hormones
Hormone balance is one of the key factors in adult acne conditions, and acne can occur in adults during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, or as a result of an endocrine disease. Adults who suffer from acne often have heightened levels of testosterone, as well as significantly high skin levels of 5-alpha-reductase — an enzyme that converts testosterone into the more potent, and troublesome, chemical known as di-hydro-testosterone (DHT). Balancing testosterone levels and reducing DHT is important when trying to control and treat adult acne. Prescriptions which can help to control DHT levels directly include finasteride, oral contraceptives and spironolactone.
Herbal remedies which have shown in studies to reduce DHT levels include Saw palmetto, Nettle root, Pumpkin seed oil and Pygeum. Check with your doctor about your hormone levels, and consider having them tested through serum blood or saliva tests.
Adult Acne Treatment #3: Liver Support
Liver health and liver function are important to consider when treating adult acne. The organ given the chief task of destroying and clearing excess or unnecessary hormones from the body is the liver — and when the liver is under-functioning or affected by high levels of pollution, toxins, alcohol or chemicals, hormone levels in the body can rise and lead to an exacerbation of acne. To support liver function and indirectly keep hormones linked with acne (such as testosterone) in check, there are several things you can do. Increase the amount of dietary fibre in your meals with whole grains and vegetables. Supplement with liver herbs such as dandelion root, milk thistle seed, globe artichoke leaves, burdock root, or chicory root. Drink eight cups of water every single day, and for a bit of extra liver stimulation, add a squeeze of lemon, grapefruit or lime to your water.
Adult Acne Treatment #4: Food Allergies
If you are suffering from adult acne, there is a good chance that the actual cause of the condition may be an allergy or a sensitivity to something that you are eating. According to James Balch, M.D., and Mark Stengler, N.D., authors of “Prescriptions for Natural Healing,” food allergies and food sensitivities are a common cause of many cases of adult acne. Food allergies and sensitivities cause disruption and over-stimulation of the immune system, as well as digestive problems, and hormone imbalances. While any food can potentially cause an allergy or sensitivity, the most common culprits by far are foods including wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, corn, and artificial colors and flavorings. To find out if your acne is linked with a food allergen, talk with your doctor, clinical nutritionist or a health-care provider about a supervised elimination diet, or an allergy test.
Adult Acne Treatment #5: Medical Prescriptions
Oral antibiotics such as tetracycle, doxycycline and minocycline are the cornerstone of medical treatment for adult acne. These antibiotics work systemically throughout the body, eliminating bacteria and providing protection from infection. However, antibiotics have a range of side effects and complications, such as causing digestive problems, reducing immune health and stimulating bacteria to become drug-resistant. Isotretinoin is one non-antibiotic prescription medication that helps on a variety of levels. Isotretinoin balances sebum production, reduce inflammation and kill acne-causing bacteria. While it works on a variety of important levels, it may worsen symptoms of depression in some individuals, decrease skin healing, and is unsafe for pregnant women. For acute lesions and cysts dermatologists and doctors can also inject cortisone into the skin for a short-term but effective anti-inflammatory action.