Acne problems are not just the jurisdiction of teenagers. A surprising number of adults develop acne at some point in their lives – up to 25% of men and 50% of women. Some adults even develop acne where they didn’t have it as teenagers. For women especially, this can occur around changes in their hormonal cycle, and during or after pregnancy. Many women with severe acne use certain types of birth control to help deal with it, as they may be taking birth control anyway.
So, what steps can you take to avoid developing acne problems?
If you have sensitive or dry skin, be careful about using harsh skin care products. When the skin dries out too much, it produces more oil to compensate for the dryness. This can even be true for people with oily skin and large pores.
Some people have found that taking fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements really help improve their skin. They are certainly an excellent way of dealing with chronically dry skin, and essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil are a favorite with naturopaths in treating acne. For adults, and women in particular, some of the acne treatments used for teenagers will be too harsh for the skin. This includes benzoyl peroxide based products, which really dry out the skin even more. As well as contributing to the development of wrinkles, by weakening the skin, they don’t support the function of the skin as a barrier.
Stress can be a big factor in the types of hormones our body produces. And despite some dermatologists refusing to acknowledge a link, research published on CNN in 2002 found there was a correlation between stress and acne. The researchers found that a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)is released into the sebaceous glands (which produce oil in the skin), which sets the foundation for acne. Corticotropin-releasing hormone is a stress related hormone. Researchers are not sure at this time whether stress plays a role in causing acne, or just exacerbates outbreaks. Either way, reducing stress in your life should lead to an improvement in your skin, especially combines with other approaches.
Ways of releasing stress in your life, include mediation, tai chi, yoga, or simply repriotitizing your life so that you are doing more of the things you want to do.
Naturopaths and traditional systems of medicine, like Traditional Chinese Medicine, consider the health of the digestive tract to be important. The skin is considered one way the body expels waste, and if the body is overloaded, or sluggish, then skin problems may occur. So, dietary changes are usually recommended in line with this philosophy. Acidophilus may be recommended as it improves the health of the bowel. This is especially true if people have been given antibiotics to treat acne with, as antibiotics destroy the beneficial bacteria in the colon.
Other foods, like dairy products and refined carbohydrates like bread and flour products (including pasta), may be suggested as foods to at least minimize in your diet, or avoid completely. These foods are harder to digest, and many people are in fact lactose intolerant.