My Republica – Understanding adult acne

It is the bane of so many people’s life. Contrary to popular belief, acne can affect you beyond your adolescence. Be it in form of old bumps and scars or even recent breakouts, many find that they need to come in terms with adult acne. And, needless to say, it can be quiet distressing. Even Dr Sabina Bhattarai from Apollo Hospital shares that their own studies have proved that acne tends to have significant emotional trauma on those who suffer from it.

“From cases of low self esteem, lost confidence, isolation and so on, the effects of acne are aplenty and disturbing as well,” says Dr Bhattarai. In these scenarios, information and awareness can prove to be crucial. So The Week caught up with the dermatologist to talk about dealing with adult acne.

The causes
The basics: Hormones, genes and environment

The most common reason for adult acne is very simple: hormones. Dr Bhattarai explains that fluctuation in hormones is usually to blame, specifically, androgens i.e. male hormones like testosterone which causes the sebaceous glands (glands that produce oil) to enlarge and produce more sebum (oily substances). Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. It is most common among women going through menopause.

However, factors like your genes and the environment also play a crucial role in your skin condition. Studies specifically suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition for acne. People who have this are prone to adult acne. Similarly, environmental factors like air pollution don’t help your case.


“Cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones,” informs Dr Bhattarai. She even adds that at times it’s a vicious circle because having more acne increases more stress and that in turn again flares up the acne. According to her, there have been many studies that back this claim. Stress can be a very influential source of hormonal changes.

Using wrong products

Dr Bhattarai insists that even simple things like regularly oiling your hair whilst you have oily skin can lead to future acne problems. We have to ensure that the lotion or any…

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