Too old for Acne?

Don't squeeze- but I still do...

Don't squeeze- but I still do...

I had terrible acne as a teenager.

I remember reading in Dolly magazine that the way to hide your pimples was by turning them into beauty spots with a black kohl pencil. That might work if you had just one or two spots, but I looked very odd with my face covered in twenty black 'beauty spots'.

No wonder I never got kissed by any of the cool boys!

Clearly using eyeliner as a cover up wasn't working, so Mum took me to a dermatologist who prescribed me oral antibiotics as well as antibiotic lotion of varying strengths for a few years. Nothing worked, so I ended up taking a number of courses of Roaccutane. A super heavy duty drug that had been marketed as being the 'cure' for acne. ( I do believe it stopped my skin from scarring)

Finally by the age of nineteen I had clear skin. My reprieve was short lived, with my cystic acne coming back with a vengeance when I was 21. Still another course of Roaccutane and it still wasn't enough. My skin specialist sent me to an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (basically my body produces too much male hormones and the side affects for me included acne and later problems falling pregnant- but that is a whole other story!)

The so called cure for my acne was hormone treatment and then later I went on the contraceptive pill. That has been enough to keep my skin behaving most of the time. However since turning forty I have been introduced to the joys of yet more acne!

Why? And I know it's not just me and my decades long problematic skin. Acne is an all too common problem for many women once we approach premenopause and menopause.

According to skincare expert Ingrid Seaburn (and a disclaimer- she is a lovely friend of mine!) our forty something year old hormones are going through another shift which can result in adult acne. Those nasty spots on your chin/jawline/neck/cheeks/back can be linked to the decline in estrogen which leads to an imbalance of testosterone in our bodies.

Ingrid does fab facials... (she's also squeezed my spots!)

Ingrid does fab facials... (she's also squeezed my spots!)

Ingrid says adult acne needs to be treated differently as our skin is older, thinner and drier. Forget the teenage remedies containing benzoyl peroxide, it's too harsh for our mature, marvelous skin! She recommends using products containing saliycylic acid. Ask your chemist for an acne cream that contains that ingredient.

What about squeezing pimples? Oh it is ever so tempting- and many times over the years I've done it. Ingrid suggests it's okay to squeeze but only when it's a 'juicy, big whitehead'. She suggests steaming your skin when you're in the shower, then using a sterile sewing needle (swabbed with an alcohol wipe) pop it very gently, and then gently apply pressure to get any left over muck out.

She warns, 'never squeeze cystic acne as it will just push it underground and it's going to come up in another area.'

Talking acne and doing my best Phyllis Diller with Ingrid!

Talking acne and doing my best Phyllis Diller with Ingrid!

Other tips from Ingrid include; be careful about what make up you use as some foundations may contain chemically irritating ingredients which can clog your pores and make your acne worse. Instead go for mineral based make up especially if your skin is prone to break outs. Also take zinc tablets (zinc can help with treating infection) and the boring old stuff like drinking lots of water.

I find drinking gallons of water a nightmare, especially as my post kids bladder means I'm busting to go to the toilet. Which can be awkward when you're doing live television!

But of course it's essential to go and see your GP, who may refer you to a skin specialist, if your acne is upsetting you and not clearing up. You don't need to put up with it.

Next week I thought I'd write about those other skin gems that come with growing older- hairy chins and pigmentation! Ingrid has got some good tips about dealing with those wicked witch hairs. Let me know what else interests you! I'd love to get some answers for you too!

Clear skin, no make-up, post facial.

Clear skin, no make-up, post facial.