All about adult acne

While there is no fixed cure, treatment can help minimise the effects and having a disciplined approach can heal.

Published: 20th July 2022 04:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th July 2022 08:42 PM   |  A+A-

skin texture, acne,

For representational purposes

When 26-year-old Nalin Adithya saw an onset of pimples dotting his cheeks and nose, the initial reaction was indifference. The same couldn't be said for his thoroughly worried mother. Although she forced him to visit a dermatologist, who diagnosed his condition as adult acne, the seriousness didn’t set in for him until much later.

"I thought the pimples would subside after a while, but they kept getting worse. That's when I realised that this was something I needed to be more serious about," he says. Nalin isn't the only one who has been susceptible to adult acne, which affects individuals from the age of 25.

The cause and effect

"Mostly affecting the areas of the jawline, lower face and upper neck, this condition can be caused by multiple triggers," says Dr Deepika Lunawat, dermatologist. While stress, hormonal imbalances and genetics can be the primary causes, there is much more to adult acne, she shares.

"Using comedogenic cosmetic products can lead to increased acne as it clogs the skin's pores. Some drugs such as corticosteroids, lithium, anti-epileptics etc., can also aggravate the condition," she affirms.  For Ashraf Mohammed A, acne has been a persisting condition.

"I have had it for quite a while now, and though it has reduced significantly, it hasn't fully disappeared. For me, keeping my hands away from my face is the most difficult task because the minute I touch my face, the pain amplifies," declares Ashraf. Nalin agrees.

"I grew a beard to stop myself from picking on my pimples because more than the pimples themselves, the scars left behind are harder to treat," he attests.

Treating the condition

While there is no fixed cure, treatment can help minimise the effects and having a disciplined approach can heal. "I swear by whatever my dermatologist recommends, and I strictly follow my prescribed medication regime. Sunscreen is also a staple of my routine," says Nalin.

But an approach that works for one may not work for another, and Ashraf vouches for that. He has done everything through multiple moisturisers by identifying his skin type to moving through different diets.

"Moisturisers were slightly effective but not entirely successful. I switched up my routine by staying hydrated, avoiding certain foods, and getting enough sleep but using aloe vera facewash was the ultimate game-changer," he states.

Dr Deepika's views are similar. "Everyone knows the importance of eating and exercising right, but medication is the most important. Topical retinoids, oral antibiotics and hormonal therapy can help alleviate acne significantly. Other methods include blue light therapy and chemical peels, which are helpful for scars," she says.

The struggles

Though there is a clear roadmap on how to deal with the condition, it can't be said that the condition doesn’t impact an individual in more ways than one. While Nalin didn’t let acne affect his behaviour and way of life other than on a handful of occasions, Ashraf has a different story.

"This condition is extremely aggravating to live with, and since I constantly touch my face, I find it difficult to put myself out in public. I've also been subject to judgement from peers in my workplace, but though I didn't let it bother me much, I have had instances where I had low self-esteem and a negative body image," he says.

The psychological impact that acne has on an individual is immense but often not talked about, shares Dr Deepika. "Individuals start by undergoing periods of low self-esteem, which leads to a chain reaction of events. The onset of social avoidance leads to social anxiety and depression. The public needs to be more mindful and should stop the stigma surrounding the condition," insists Dr Deepika.

Coming out stronger

Despi te his struggles, Ashraf has reached a point where he is comfortable in his skin. "I don't feel as conscious as I used to, thanks to the steps I take to manage my acne. Going out and about in public and mingling with people doesn't seem as daunting as it did before," he declares.

But a lot more change needs to take place to create a much better environment. "People need to stop having the perception that acne is specific only towards teenagers; this mindset is embedded in the mind of the public and serves as the main cause for stigma. Education regarding proper skin care routines using affordable products is also vital, and so is being vocal about the condition," says Nalin.

And while this helps instil hope for a better tomorrow, one can only wait to see the extent of the ripples one conversation can create.


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