Anti-aging and special care: Bye-bye breakouts

Banish blemishes with these no-fail solutions

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When we grow out of our teens, we eagerly anticipate leaving acne-prone skin behind. However, with adult acne on the rise, many women find themselves dealing with breakouts and fine lines at the same time. By understanding the causes of acne and fully exploring treatment options, a clear complexion is just a few steps away.

Cause and effect
Like teenage acne, most adult acne is caused by shifting hormones. As hormone levels fluctuate, the skin glands become more active, in turn producing more oil. Dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki-Grant believes the increasing amount of stress in women’s lives accounts for these hormonal upsets.

“Our bodies’ response to stress is the creation of testosterone,” she says. “The excess testosterone causes our skin to break out.” Skotnicki-Grant also believes there are other aspects of North American lifestyle contributing to the number of women experiencing adult acne. “Things like pollution and diet are definitely factors. By diet, I don’t necessarily mean chocolate—it’s the hormones and preservatives in our diet that affect the skin.”

Taking control
There are several options for women when it comes to treating acne. The first is to go right to the source. It’s a smart choice to calm hormones and clear your skin with a low-dose birth control pill, according to Skotnicki-Grant. Oral contraceptives help level out hormones, resulting in a clearer complexion. Another option is to visit your dermatologist and see about prescription antibiotics, such as Minocine.

To treat acne topically, use an alpha-or beta-hydroxy acid product. These products help quicken skin regeneration, and keep pores clear in the same way Retin-A does, but are less drying than Retin-A. Teenage skin is resilient enough to handle Retin-A, but as skin ages it tends to become more sensitive and dry. Those with mature skin must therefore be weary about over-drying and increasing sensitivity when treating acne.

Avoiding more breakouts
To stop the spread of breakouts here are a few tips to remember:

· Don’t scrub your skin with a harsh exfoliator or washcloth. This can actually worsen the problem area. Use a gentle cleanser instead.
· Never squeeze a blemish. You will push some bacteria out but most of the bacteria will get logged even deeper in your skin.
· Avoid stress. Try taking up an activity such as yoga or meditation that will help reduce your stress levels.
· Drink plenty of water and try to eat a healthy diet that includes colourful vegetables.

The big cover up
Before you start covering a blemish, make sure to cleanse the surface. Next, select a concealer that matches your skin. Using a small brush, dab a thin coat onto the blemish and gently blend. Allow the concealer to set for a minute. If the area still looks red apply a second coat. Once the concealer is set, dust loose powder over the affected area.