Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

Adult Acne can be a stubborn problem to treat
TAMPA (FOX 13) -It’s rough for any teenager, and downright devastating for grown women in their 40s or 50s. Adult acne is a complex medical problem, and dermatologists are seeing more of it.

“We have more women with adult acne than we do have teenagers in our practice,” says Dermatologist Dr. Victoria Cirillo. “It’s because the hormone levels are changing very quickly and in large numbers, they start to switch.”

The fix is just as complex as the cause. The reality is, no two cases are the same.

“Acne is a devastating disease on one’s self image, whether you’re a kid, or an adult,” explains Dr. Neil Fenske, a dermatologist with TGH/USF Health. “It destroys them emotionally, they feel bad, they don’t want to go out.”

Adult acne can be triggered by chronic stress, hormone changes, and pores that grow sensitive as we age.

“A small percentage get acne for the first time after age 25,” Fenske explains. “Adult acne is actually more difficult to treat than adolescent acne for reasons we quit don’t understand.”

He says acne tends to be a more stubborn problem in adults.

“It’s usually more inflammatory, more cystic, more located on the chin area and lower cheeks, and much more likely to result in scarring because scarring occurs in chronic inflammation, and this is a much more chronic disease in adults,” he said.

Prescriptions like Retinae, Differin and other topicals and antibiotics are improved so even the most sensitive skin can tolerate them.

Some patients benefit from 20- minute treatments under red and blue LED lights.

Others receive treatments that can clear up the face: sessions that include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and a suctioning session. It can reduce acne in just six months.

“This loosens up the skin so that way, when I go over with the microderm, I physically see dead skin coming off, it’s unbelievable,” explains skin therapist Lauren Menig.

As always, talk with your dermatologist about which treatments are right for your skin.