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Living With Adult Acne

You may have bad memories from puberty, when your raging hormones caused acne breakouts across your face, chest, and back. If so, you probably felt a great deal of relief once you grew older and didn’t have to worry about acne anymore — or so you thought.

As you now know, acne doesn’t just affect teenagers; it affects adults as well, and for the same reasons: oily skin, bacteria, and clogged pores. So, what can you do about it?

The expert team of aestheticians at Med Physique Center for Aesthetics in Austin, Texas understands your frustration with acne resurgence and wants you to know that all is not lost. Certain treatments can help clear away the zits and oil, leaving you with a clean, clear face. Here’s what you need to know.

The causes of acne

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, causing a variety of blemishes. The blemishes are persistent, healing slowly and popping up again just as soon as you thought you’d gotten rid of them. The earlier you start treatment, though, the lower your risk for permanent scarring and emotional distress.

Some adults continue to have breakouts well into their 50s, and it’s even possible to get it for the first time as an adult. Adult-onset acne is most common among women going through menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels at that time — similar to the experience during puberty. Women also experience hormonal changes around their periods, during pregnancy, and starting or discontinuing birth control pills, which makes them more prone to the condition.

Adult-onset acne can also arise because of: 


When we’re stressed, our bodies produce more androgens, a type of hormone. These stimulate both the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, leading to acne.

Hair and skin care products

Many products, including moisturizers, sunscreens, and cleansers, contain ingredients that can increase oil production, leading to acne. To ensure what you use isn’t likely to give you an outbreak, make sure all products are oil-free.

Medication side effects

Some medications cause acne as a side effect. Check with your doctor to see if any of your medications may be leading to your outbreaks. If so, see if you can switch to a similar drug without the side effect. Otherwise, a dermatologist may be able to help you control the condition.

Treatments for acne

Medications are the first line of defense in the war against acne. Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription acne medications work either by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating the underlying bacterial infection. It's important to note, though, that you might not see any results for 4-8 weeks, and it may take months or even years for your acne to clear up completely.

Topical medications include:

Retinoids and retinoid-like formulations

These come in gels, creams, and lotions, and are useful for moderate acne since they prevent hair follicle clogging. You shouldn’t apply tretinoin (a prescription retinoid) at the same time as the common OTC topical benzoyl peroxide, due to interactions.


Antibiotics work by killing bacteria on the skin, reducing redness and inflammation in the process. Antibiotics are often combined with benzoyl peroxide, which reduces the risk of developing antibiotic resistance. Topical antibiotics alone generally aren't effective.

Azelaic acid and salicylic acid

Azelaic acid, produced by a yeast, has antibacterial properties. A 20% azelaic acid cream or gel used twice a day often proves effective. Salicylic acid, available in wash-off and leave-on formulations, can help prevent clogged hair follicles.

Oral medications include antibiotics like tetracycline, which should be combined with another product like benzoyl peroxide, combined oral contraceptives, anti-androgens, and isotretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A.

At Med Physique Center for Aesthetics, we offer three treatment options for acne outbreaks and related scarring:

1. Chemical peels

Peels use repeated applications of a salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid solution to literally remove the skin layers containing the acne blemishes and scars. It’s best used for mild acne cases. The effect is temporary, though, so you’ll probably require repeat treatments. 

Enjoy the benefits of a chemical peel at a great cost-savings. We’re currently offering 20% off 

chemical peels which help with acne, as well as, acne scars!

2. Hydralux Facials

This unique facial uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, and hydrate skin (perfect for acne-prone skin and those with acne scars). A special vacuum-powered device painlessly extracts oil, dirt, and grime that lives beneath the surface of your skin. 

Treat yourself to a premium Hydralux Facial or chemical peel for the holidays with our current 20% price discount special.

3. Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial

IPL uses scattered bright light with a number of different wavelengths to reduce the appearance of acne blemishes. You may need several IPL treatments, depending on your skin and goals.

Are you an adult living with acne? There’s help for that. Contact Med Physique Center for Aesthetics by calling 512-453-7000, or you can schedule an appointment online.

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