The Truth About Adult Acne
Braces and angst are two things most of us can happily leave behind in our adolescence; acne, less so. In fact, breakouts are seemingly becoming more common later in life: Studies published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology note that 50 percent of women will suffer from acne at some point in their adult years, and that the median age of those afflicted has increased from 20.5 to 26.5 years old. All acne is not created equal, however. Younger acne will most always involve T-zone-centric blackheads and whiteheads, while adult acne hits around the jawline and neck, and often shows up as painful cysts and nodules. And grown-up breakouts might be more scarring, because skin becomes less resilient with age.
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Good News for Those With Bad Genes
Skin scientists have used genomics, the study of genes, to tailor treatments for wrinkles, and now they're using their gene know-how to tackle oil overload that could lead to acne. P&G's Ohio-based genomics lab "identified the pathways that regulate lipid production" to help create the new Olay Professional Pro-X Clear line, according to Rosemarie Osborne, P&G Beauty principal scientist. In South Korea this summer at the World Congress of Dermatology (the skin-care version of the Olympics, this superstar dermatology conference happens once every four years), Osborne presented to a packed lecture hall the results of a clinical study proving the efficacy of two of Pro-X Clear's powerhouse ingredients: anti-aging niacinamide plus antimicrobial sodium dehydroacetate. Subjects applied a cocktail containing these actives twice daily and, after six weeks, experienced a 40 percent reduction in oil production and a 16 percent reduction in the appearance of pores, without any redness or irritation.
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Be on the Lookout for BB Products
The newest does-it-all weapon in the war on acne-and on less-than-perfect skin in general-is an overseas import. Originally popularized by Korean soap opera actresses, BB (aka "blemish balm" or "beauty balm") creams have become a sensation in Asia, thanks to their multitasking potential to conceal pimples and fine lines, boost moisture, soothe irritation, and protect skin from the sun, all while absorbing excess oil. Our BB favorites: duty-free must Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 (which has yet to launch in the U.S.); Korean import and Sephora best-seller Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm; and Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, with a seaweed extract that decreases the excess creation of sebum.
The Top 5 Most Trusted Spot Treatments
- Tough on stubborn blackheads, Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment is still sheer enough to wear under makeup.
- Gentle enough to use daily, Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment won't irritate surrounding skin.
- Non-drying, Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment works on even the deep ones.
- The Zeno Hot Spot zaps zits' redness and keeps you from picking.
- Great as a mask but better as a spot treatment, a dab of Proactiv Refining Mask dries out pimples overnight.
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