The rise in adult acne

A recent article in the Daily Mail suggests that acne is no longer merely a teenage problem. According to the British Association of Dermatology, around 14% of women aged 26 to 44 seek help for adult acne every year, with many more suffering in silence.

The underlying problem with acne is an over-sensitivity to the male hormone testosterone. Skin glands produce excessive amounts of oil that clog up hair follicles and trap bacteria and dead skin cells under the skin; these then erupt as pimples and black heads.

Hormonal disturbance is likely to trigger acne which is why it is more common during teenage years, pregnancy, the menopause and the monthly menstrual cycle. However, it appears that both stress and poor diet can also be implicated.

A small trial at Stanford University showed that students under exam pressure suffered worse skin problems, the stress causing their adrenals to secret more male hormones and thus more oil in the skin.

Another Australian trial showed a 51% drop in pimples in a group of young adults following a healthy eating diet for 12 weeks. In this case the higher insulin levels sparked by the sugary, fatty processed foods was blamed for a rise in testosterone.

Even exercise is thought to cause problems although in this case it is the excess sweat which creates a moist atmosphere in which a yeast germ called pityrosporum can flourish and cause pimples. Washing as soon after exercise as possible with a naturally anti microbial soap such as tea tree is recommended.

For the full article.

June 2010

 

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