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Acne Through the Ages

By Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS; Tracy L. Drumm; and Terri A. Wojak
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
teen professional skin care client with acne

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Young adult acne. Many adults, because they did not experience acne during their teen years, believe that they have escaped its consequences. They are surprised, then, to find themselves at 30 or 40 experiencing burdensome breakouts. Acne seems to be less common in men after the age of 25, but for women, fluctuations in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may cause acne breakouts. Because birth control pills cause testosterone levels to drop, many women notice that their acne breakouts are less severe when they are taking them. Spironolactone is another medication that decreases testosterone; it was originally used for medical conditions such as heart, liver and kidney disease. This medication is being prescribed more often by physicians for women that experience breakouts due to abnormal hormone levels.

With all of the other options to date, internal medications are often not patients’ first preference. A therapy often used for this age group involves applying microdroplets of Botox to the affected areas. This has shown promising results for those with overactive sebaceous glands that are not responding to traditional therapies. Those who have tried it see great relief from acne symptoms and often come back for repeated treatments.

Mature acne. Many mature patients come in to the office to treat other conditions, including photodamage and wrinkling, sagging skin. Although these may be their main points of concern, several experience breakouts as well. Many of the treatments that reduce the signs of aging are also beneficial for breakouts. Ablative laser treatments are one of those methods. Mature skin tends to have a slower cellular turnover rate, which is a main contributing factor to acne. Rapidly increasing cellular turnover will help to control breakouts while also reducing lines, wrinkles and scarring.

Esthetician’s point of view: Terri A. Wojak

Acne can be difficult to treat, and many clients have to try multiple treatment methods before they find what works for them. Because estheticians are only permitted to work on the surface of the skin, it is imperative to have a physician to refer to and consult with as needed. In cases of severe or highly inflamed acne, clients should only be treated by a medical professional. The most important role of the esthetician when dealing with acne clients is as an educator. Not only should you be educating acne clients about how they should care for their skin, but also that this is a normal condition that almost everyone experiences at some point in their lives.

Teen acne. Teenagers are affected with acne at a time in their lives when looks greatly influence their development of self-esteem. Almost all teens will experience some sort of acne during puberty. According to the AAD, more than 40% of adolescents experience acne or acne scarring, which requires treatment. For some, it may be an occasional pimple; for others, it can be so severe that it is tender to the touch and can result in scarring. One of the most important roles of the esthetician with these clients is to be sensitive to their concerns and needs.