Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Adult Acne

When acne is contracted during adulthood, specifically in people over eighteen years of age, it is considered adult acne or post-adolescent acne. It commonly appears during the early twenties to even late forties and fifties. Women are usually more prone to this type of acne.

The several causes of adult acne include,hormones,birth control pills,stress and cosmetics.Hormones cause the sebacuous glands to overact and birth control pills with androgen in them can cause breakouts.Stress causes oil glands to overcompensate. Bad cosmetics lead to bacteria-laden pores.

There is no definite pattern to the occurence of adult acne as compared to the teenage variety of acne. Adolescent girls are often conscious of the growth of this skin condition, especially during their menstrual cycle, although the acne that forms during adulthood comes and goes more easily than the ones contracted during the teenage years.

The appearance of post-adolescent acne differs from that of teenage acne in that comedones (blackheads and whiteheads are less commonly seen, breakouts are mostly mild and scarring is unusual. Lesions more often appear on the lower cheek, the chin, and along and below the jaw line. Although some women may have breakouts on the chest and back, most have blemishes exclusively on the face.

Papules, also known as pimples, zits, bumps, pustules, and small nodules are the most common composition of breakouts. Papules are skin inflammatory elevations that are not suppurative while the pustules are also inflammatory elevations, but are filled with pus. The pustules and papules can be classified as deep or superficial. Superficial papules are those located on the skin surface. The deep papules are described to be palpable, and come from under the skin, since these are probably inflammations that are trapped underneath the skin's surface.

Nodules are described as large papules or cysts. They are firm tender lumps that stay on for several weeks or even months. The largest growth that they can be is about an inch and when healed can leave a noticeable scar. Luckily, nodules are rarely develop in women with adult acne.

There is no exact diagnosis for adult-onset acne since it can be easily confused by a health care provider with other acne-like disorders like rosacea, pseudofolliculitis barbae, keratosis pilaris, and endocrinopathy:

Rosacea: Symptoms of rosacea include facial lesions that consist of acnelike red papules and pustules. Moreover, both rosacea and acne can appear together.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae and keratosis pilaris: These conditions involve hair follicles, and can sometimes be acne look alikes.

Endocrinopathy: Sometimes what appears to be a simple case of acne vulgaris or adult-onset acne can be due to an underlying hormonal abnormality, called endocrinopathy. At times like this, acne may be difficult to get under control, and other measures such as blood tests to look for higher or lower than normal hormone levels should be evaluated by your doctor.

Women with adult acne do not have levels of androgen that are elevated but may have a amplified response to androgen in its normal levels and to progesterone, a female hormone, although to a much lower degree. On the other hand, estrogen, another main hormone of females, produces an opposite effect on acne production by depressing its release.

Other than the major hormones of women, adult acne may be caused and enhanced by the intake of pills containing hormones and drugs that have hormonal effects like those seen in oral contraceptive medications, food products, steroids and allergy medications.

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