Why some people still get pimples as adults
Most adolescents know pimples during puberty. However, many people aged 30 years or more are still plagued by blackheads and pimples. As with adolescents, hormonal changes often play a role here - however, the triggers are sometimes difficult to determine.
According to Dr. Kristin Technau-Hafsi, senior physician at the Clinic for Dermatology and Venerology at the University Medical Center Freiburg, in addition to genetic predisposition, hormones or hormone-like substances can also play a triggering role in acne in adulthood. This affects both men and women, according to the expert in a recent press release from the university hospital. But external influences also often play a role. Sometimes, for example, only the wrong sunscreen is the trigger.
Clogged sebaceous glands the trigger
Pimples are caused by clogging of the drainage ducts in the so-called sebum glands and the greasier the skin, the more active the sebum glands, which increases the risk of blackheads and pimples. Acne-like changes in adulthood can also be caused by external factors, such as prolonged or regular contact with oils, tar, pitch or chlorine, explains Dr. Technau-Hafsi. The result is a so-called "professional acne" (because the contact with the substances mostly takes place in the professional environment), which occurs increasingly on the arms and face.
Sunscreen also sometimes causes pimples
Some people cannot tolerate individual sun protection products and in combination with sun exposure, pimples can appear on the face, décolleté, upper arms and back. According to the expert, this is known as "Mallorca acne", which is associated with an annoying and sometimes very itchy rash. It forms a sub-form of polymorphic light eruption, which is also referred to as "sun allergy". Their occurrence is expected from spring, the peak is reached in summer and the symptoms slowly fade away in autumn, according to the Freiburg University Hospital.
With changes in the level of hormones in the body, pimples are a relatively common side symptom. The hormonal fluctuations can be triggered, for example, by pregnancy, discontinuation of the contraceptive pill or various medications. These drugs include cortisone supplements and antidepressants.
Medications and stress as a pimple trigger
"Anyone who has to take cortisone supplements or antidepressants for a long time can experience skin problems as a side effect," says Dr. Also, some drugs that are used for tumor therapy (so-called EGF receptor blockers) would often provoke an acne-like rash on the upper body. In addition, the skin often reacts negatively to stress, because then male hormones are increasingly produced, which stimulate the sebaceous glands.
When to the doctor?
According to the Freiburg expert, adults suffering from severe or prolonged acne on the face, décolleté or back should consult a skin disease specialist (dermatologist). This could clarify the cause and create an individual therapy concept.
Do not squeeze pimples
Those affected should generally refrain from expressing the pimples; as this usually only leads to a deterioration in the overall skin appearance, Dr. warns Kristin Technau-Hafsi. Scars and incorrect pigmentation as well as deeper skin inflammation are possible consequences. After visiting the specialist, however, it might be advisable to take additional treatment from a medical specialist.
Natural remedies can often also offer various home remedies for pimples, which range from herbal active ingredients to healing earth and zinc ointment to relaxation methods to reduce stress. However, the reason for the occurrence of acne should first be clarified before the skin irritation is tackled independently. (fp)