5 Reasons You Still Have Acne
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What it looks like: Cyst-looking bumps that hurt like the dickens and last forever. While younger acne takes over the T-zone, adult pimples usually appear on the chin and neck and along the jawline, says Jennifer Chwalek, MD, a dermatologist who practices with Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York. They'll be at their worst just before you get your period.
What to try: As a quick fix, your dermatologist may inject the site with inflammation-calming cortisone. To prevent these types of breakouts in the future, she may talk to you about spironolactone, an oral medication that blocks the androgen hormones often responsible for adult acne.
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What it looks like: You're not just spotty but also uncharacteristically shiny.
What to try: If you have acne-prone skin, look for products that are "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic" and try one at a time, says Chwalek. She also recommends keeping an eye out for these ingredients, which are more likely to aggravate acne: lanolin, squalene, alcohols (isopropyl myristate), oils (mineral oil, coconut butter, oil) and sodium lauryl sulfate.
What it looks like: A red, bumpy rash around the mouth and lower face. It can also be scaly or irritated-looking.
What to try: Dermatologists usually treat this condition with a course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories, says Chwalek.
What it looks like: These are usually the same pimples you remember from your youth: red, white and annoying all over (they often appear in clusters).
What to try: Topical ointments with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, the gold standards for treating teen acne, can be too harsh for adult skin. They often cause dryness, which can be a problem for women who are dealing with an age-related lack of moisture. Look for acne products with a lower concentration of pimple-busting active ingredients. (And try to get to bed earlier.)
What it looks like: Inflamed, red, scabby, positively volcanic. And because cell turnover slows with age, Chwalek says that picked pimples will take even longer to heal and are more likely to leave scars in woman of a certain age.
What to try: Those who can't keep their hands from their face might want to read this cautionary tale.