Acne is a skin condition typical of puberty. However, there are forms of acne that affect adults, particularly women. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology at Humanitas and lecturer at Humanitas University, spoke about it in an interview in Corriere della Sera.
Acne often affects the face, but the appearance of pimples, blackheads and pustules can also affect the skin of the neck, back, chest and shoulders, thanks to the greater concentration of sebaceous glands in these areas.
Acne is formed when the pores of the skin are blocked by an accumulation of dead skin cells. This occurs due to excessive production of sebum, the grease that lubricates the skin. Excess sebum can also affect the activity of some harmless bacteria on the skin, causing inflammation.
Adults suffer in particular from the formation of blackheads, which appear on the skin, white spots, blind pimples, and small cysts full of pus that can then leave scars. “After the age of 25, it is women who are most affected by acne, even if they have not been affected during youth. With the approaching of the menopause and the end of the fertile period, the probability of onset increases”, explained Prof. Costanzo.
As far as causes are concerned, family predisposition and the environment play a role: “The contribution of external factors, such as stress, should not be underestimated, since the body tends to produce androgenic hormones that stimulate the sebaceous glands and follicles,” the specialist stressed.
Attention should also be paid to the choice of cosmetics, as some can promote the onset of acne. “It is therefore advisable to choose non comedogenic products, which do not deposit and obstruct the pores, and choose cosmetics without oily substances. The advice is to read the labels well and discontinue the use of a product in the presence of adverse reactions. It is recommended to always remove makeup before going to sleep and not share the tools used to apply face products,” recommended Prof. Costanzo.
How do you treat acne?
Depending on the type of acne, the dermatologist will evaluate the most appropriate treatment, for example, a topical therapy, an oral therapy, possibly accompanied by antibiotics, may be indicated.
“Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may be used in conjunction with these; the aim of the treatment is to reduce the bacterial load, reduce inflammation and release the pores. It is therefore advisable to consult a specialist in good time, in order to intervene quickly, thus preventing the formation of new blackheads, whiteheads and cysts – and any scars – and preventing the situation from getting worse. If the skin tends to dry out during the treatment, it is advisable to apply a moisturizing cream after washing the face.
In some cases, isotretinoin can be used for more severe forms, a derivative of vitamin A that regulates the proliferation of sebaceous glands and that can solve the problem permanently as it does for adolescent acne,” explained Prof. Costanzo.