Breaking Down Adult Male Acne
Acne has never been a skin condition that anyone wants to deal with for longer than is absolutely necessary! But many people don’t treat their acne like the medical skin condition it is. Even into their adulthood, a number of people are still dealing with acne or they are experiencing it for the first time.
Acne has the potential to become a chronic condition if left untreated. It can develop into worse, more painful acne that is intrinsically harder to treat. A host of triggers can cause men’s acne, which has the propensity to last well into your 30s!
What causes men’s acne?
Acne (at any age) is most commonly a result of hormone levels, notably testosterone, which is responsible for sebum production (what makes our skin oily). When there is overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands, your pores and hair follicles can easily become blocked. Leading to the creation of the perfect breeding conditions for bacteria.
As a teenager, acne is caused by the surges in hormones that are responsible for puberty. Adult acne is likewise caused by hormones, particularly if you are taking medication or any form of treatment that alters your natural levels. Many men who suffer from acne late in life can attribute it to stress, diet, hygiene habits, and even a genetic predisposition.
With testosterone being a big factor in acne development, there is obviously a correlation between taking steroid medication and the sprouting of this troublesome condition. Steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone that are used to treat inflammatory conditions or certain endocrine abnormalities can cause flare-ups.
In bodybuilding or athletic circles, anabolic steroids are a leading (and growing cause) for adult men’s acne.Steroid-related acne appears in roughly 50% of all men who use anabolic steroids in large doses for bodybuilding. Combining high-dose testosterone and anabolic steroids is a sure fire way to see outbreaks of acne on the face, chest, back, and upper arms. Sustanon, also known as Deca, is a common cause of steroid-related acne in bodybuilders.
Skincare and haircare
Skin, hair and facial hair products that are inherently greasy are likely to block your pores and hair follicles, creating acne-favourable conditions. The over-use of harsh cleansing and exfoliating skin care products strip your skin of its natural oils and weakens the skin barrier in the process. Having decreased skin barrier function leaves you more vulnerable to developing acne.
Something none of us who love cultivating beards and ‘stashes want to hear is the fact that facial hair can serve as the ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and trap pesky oils that those bacteria feed on! Although it should be noted that you can also have ingrown hairs, known as folliculitis in this area, which is often mistaken for acne.
Men’s acne treatment
As acne is a medical condition, if it doesn’t clear up with the help of over-the-counter acne treatments it is advisable to seek medical help from those who can prescribe high-strength formulas to combat your particular type of acne. Depending on which of the below types you have (you may have a combination of these), your course of treatment could be different.
- Comedones: open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads)
- Papules (small red bumps on the skin)
- Pustules (like papules but filled with pus)
- Nodules (very large, painful, inflamed and swollen nodules)
- Cysts (painful pimples filled with pus that form deep in the skin)
Telemedicine providers like Qr8 MediSkin offer their patients fully customised treatment creams or serums geared towards all male acne-causing pathways. The service is fully accessible online, and the one-on-one video consultation with a doctor is from the comfort of your home. Your doctor will take into consideration your lifestyle and habits to formulate an all-in-one, prescription-only treatment product. Qr8 MediSkin also has a Skincare Support Team to guide you through any questions or concerns you may have on your quest for clear skin.
Men’s skincare routine for acne?
Researching what a men’s acne skin care routine should look like can be daunting, so we’ve outlined a simple set up for the morning and evening to give you some pointers before you take the plunge into prescription acne treatment.
Wiping the slate clean
Remove troublesome dead skin cells and excess sebum that clog pores and hair follicles, helping prevent breakouts. As you progress through your treatment and find you have fewer breakouts, you can skip morning deep cleanses if you cleanse each night.
Eye cream is a must in our adulthood, but choose one in the form of a gel or serum (unless you find a cream that is ‘oil free’. The eye area is particularly sensitive, and not all products you would put on your face can be used here.
Hydrate the face
A well-hydrated skin barrier is a functioning one. Don’t be fooled by the notion that oily, acne-prone skin means you can skip this step! Light, oil-free formulas that multitask with anti-aging ingredients are a shoe in.
An essential! Your mum was right after all. An oil-free SPF of 30 or higher will protect your skin from the sun’s rays and should be applied even when it is overcast. Carry some with you if you are out and about, as sweat and water makes reapplying every two hours vital.
Wiping the slate clean
Removing the build-up oil, dead skin cells, and external irritants (like bacteria and pollution from your environment) means it won’t be sitting on your face all night long, causing havoc. The same applies to your facial hair. If you have any, give it a rinse and brush!
Chemical peels or exfoliants are a gentle way to boost your skin cell turnover rate and unclog pores without needing to actually scrub (and usually damage) your face. A peel should be done once every 2-3 days.
The same eye cream as the morning, unless you decide your eyes could use a special one for the night.
Now is when you would apply any retinol or retinoid treatment product to control sebum and improve skin cell turnover.
Hydrate the face
Find a light to medium moisturiser to help your skin heal itself each night.