Acne is an ugly, vulgar scourge that devastates the faces of many unfortunate adolescents. However, it’s something that most guys assume is behind them once they hit their twenties. Teenage boys aren’t the only ones to get acne. It’s not unusual for men to experience acne long after their school days. It may also happen that the acne, which triggered out in the teenage years has lingered into adulthood, or some men may get acne for the first time as an adult.
However, unlike women, most men are less likely to suffer acne breakouts later in life. This is because most adult acne breakouts occur due to hormonal imbalance, especially around pregnancy, the menopause and during a period. Men, obviously, do not have to deal with any of these problems.
In general, male acne treatments are more or less same as acne treatments that work on women as well. However, as mentioned above, most acne breakouts in men, especially in the adult years, are different to the causes of acne breakouts in women. That’s why a few of the acne treatment for men could be slightly different.
How Common Is Acne In Men?
The figures may vary but a study at the University of Alabama observed that 42.5% of men in their 20s had occasional acne, 20% of 30-somethings did, dropping to 12% of men in their 40s.
But for some men, acne can be more of a persistent problem – no matter what they do, it won’t go away, and it keeps on humiliating them.
To quote Dr. Sweta Rai of the British Association of Dermatologists: “Acne is more common than we realize in adults, especially in these days of go-go-go lifestyles. I’ve seen cases of acne in my clinics in men in their late 20s and 30s and even in their 40s. It’s more common in males during adolescence, however this reverses during adulthood where 12% of men versus 25% of women suffer with adult acn . Above the age of 40 both men and women have a 5% likelihood of having acne.”
Men Don’t Just Get Acne On Their Face; It Can Pop Up On Their Back, Chest, Arms And Legs
Good news is that there are a number of men’s acne treatments including home remedies and over the counter body washes, creams to tablets that can help.
What Causes Acne In Men?
There are number of myths about “what are causes for acne?”. Eating burgers, chips and chocolate all the time isn’t a great health choice, but it won’t give you acne. Neither acne occurs due to bad personal hygiene.
The cause of acne can be traced to the sebaceous glands, which start releasing generous quantities of sebum during adolescence and may continue to do so throughout life. But why does sebum continue to cause acne in men who are well beyond the hormone surges of adolescence?
Acne can be caused by a number of other factors including genetic predisposition and hormones.
To quote Dr. Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson: “Acne has a multifactorial process. It’s a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin, which is composed of an oil-producing gland, hair follicle and hair. Under the influence of hormones, the size and activity of the oil producing glands increases. In addition, skin cells become ‘sticky’ blocking pores and bacteria known as ‘Propionobacteria acnes’ start to multiply. This combination of factors results in the formation of acne.”
To quote Dr. Sweta Rai of the British Association of Dermatologists: “Stress and hectic lifestyles which contribute to stress can also be exacerbating factors in acne. Young men who build body and are on supplements, which may contain steroids, should get their supplements checked out by their dermatologist as this may also contribute to their developing acne.”
Best Acne Treatments for Men
To quote Dr. Mahto: “General measures to treat acne will include skincare advice and topical creams. If these fail then there are a large number of other treatments that can be tried including steam facials, chemical peels, laser or light treatments, oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments such as spironolactone and isotretinoin. Lifestyle measures can also benefit some patients.”
However, a basic acne treatment involves keeping follicles open by using a variety of skin cleansers that exfoliate, or remove dead skin cells. For this very reason many over the counter acne treatment products usually contain peroxide or glycolic acids, which help prevent plug formation and plus exfoliating the skin helps peel away those dead scales.
According to Dr. Rai, the treatment of acne can be topical – using face washes containing benzoyl peroxide / salicylic acid in combination with topical retinoids such as adapalene.
Many non-prescription gels, creams, lotions, pads, and other acne treatment products that help exfoliate and cleanse the skin include two familiar ingredients:
(i) Benzoyl Peroxide, which exterminates bacteria that can get into follicles and trigger acne infection.
(ii) Salicylic Aci , which like glycolic acid, helps unclog pores, although it provides only temporary relief unless it’s used every day.
If the above products don’t help, you can consult a dermatologist for the prescription treatments such as:
(i) Antibiotics taken orally or rubbed into the skin that help control bacteria.
(ii) Vitamin A derivatives, known as retinoids, which can help unclog pores and keep them unclogged.
(iii) Anti-inflammatory medications known as corticosteroids can be injected directly into an inflamed cyst or pustule by a doctor to subdue severe eruptions.
According to Dr. Rai, oral retinoids are commonly used along with oral antibiotics for inflammatory acne.
Words Of Caution In Acne Treatment
Watch out: Some supplements designed to kill acne may actually trigger other problems. To quote Dr. David Rahimi, a privately practicing dermatologist in Los Angeles: “If you take too much zinc to treat acne, it can cause anemia. It can bring your white cell count down and lead to severe infection. Too much vitamin A in the form of Accutane can cause a host of problems from liver toxicity to hair loss — all sorts of problems. These products should be used moderately, if at all, and preferably under a doctor’s supervision.”
Adult Acne And Anabolic Steroids
To quote Jeffrey Dover, MD, a dermatologist at Skin Care Physicians of Chestnut Hill in Massachusetts: Anabolic steroids, used by athletes and bodybuilders to build muscle mass, are one well-known cause of acne in men. Studies show that almost one-third of men who use steroids suffer from acne, and about 50% of the men who get it develop a severe form known as cystic acne. The acne usually is on the back and on the chest, but it can be anywhere. Treating them involves getting them to acknowledge that they’re taking these performance-enhancing drugs. It is very difficult to treat because it’s intensely resistant to typical treatments.”
This kind of acne normally goes away gradually if the man stops taking the steroids
Home Remedies – Acne Treatment Men
Some of you, who don’t want to use medications, can use these home remedies to treat their acne.
(1) Apple Cider Vinegar: This is one of most effective home remedy for treating male acne and will cost you not much. Apple cider vinegar not only helps to soak up all of that excess oil, which otherwise can clog the skin pores – but also ensures to control the growth of bacteria, which otherwise can trigger acne breakout.
(i) Mix well 1 part organic apple cider vinegar to three parts of clean water.
(ii) Apply this directly to the acne (as a spot treatment), leave it on for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off.
(iii) Repeat this process up to 3 times a day. Do not go overboard though. If you use this remedy too much, you run the risk of drying your skin out, which can aggravate your acne problem.
2. Cinnamon And Honey Mask: The honey acts as a natural antibiotic, so it helps exterminating bacteria on the skin. The cinnamon also helps to stall growth of the bacteria. So, when combined together, they become stronger in killing all the bacteria.
(i) Mix well 2 tablespoons of organic honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
(ii) Apply this mask to onto your face, leaving it there for about 15 minutes and then rinse it off completely. Make sure that you clean everything off because this is a very sticky mixture.
Preventive Measures For Men’s Acne
1. Regular Skin Cleaning Regime: In many cases, acne occurs due to the skin pores getting clogged with dirt, grease, and grime, leading to bacteria breeding and thus acne development. A regular skin cleaning routine is important otherwise also for keeping healthy skin. So keep your skin clean and bacteria free.
A word of caution is not to go overboard with it. Just consider using a good quality anti-acne soap or cleanser that fights acne at least twice a day to prevent pore clogging and skin inflammation. In most cases, a healthy skin-cleaning regime is all it takes to fend off acne.
2: Proper Moisturization: Maintaining a proper balance in moisturizing levels is essential for acne prone skins. If your skin keeps drying out, use a good quality moisturizer to keep your skin properly moisturized. And to naturally keep your skin hydrated inside too, drink at least 8-10 glasses of water.
A well hydrated and moisturized skin is less prone to have dead skin cells and flakes to clog the skin pores – so you are less likely to end up suffering from acne.
Ending on a positive note, acne is a treatable condition and with a bit of trial and error you’ll be able to find a regime and treatment which will work for you. It’s important not to give up on a treatment program too early, so be patient as some may take between 4 and 12 weeks or more to show an effect. If you are able establish a skincare regime and treatment plan it will help make you feel more in control of your acne rather than it controlling you.