December 10, 2020

I’m in My 50s and Still Get Acne — What Can I Do?

The Short Answer from a dermatologist

blackheads in skin on face

Q: I’m still getting blackheads in my 50s. What can I do?

A: Many think acne is predominantly a teenage condition, but it peaks at two times in our lives. We see a lot of acne in the teen years with the first rush of hormones into the system. But we also see acne affecting people in their 40s and 50s, often around the mouth. Again, later outbreaks are related to hormones (from menopause, for example).

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When you come to see a dermatologist, they will assess your acne. If it appears to be hormone-related, we may treat it with hormonal therapy, prescribing common oral contraceptive drugs or a drug like spironolactone. If the acne is severe, we may prescribe oral isotretinoin products.

However, the majority of acne can be controlled with topical medications, including:

  • Benzoyl peroxide-based creams or gels.
  • Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin lotion.
  • Topical vitamin A preparations, such as tretinoin cream or adapalene gel.

Some over-the-counter products that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid or salicylic acid) are also very helpful.

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Also, as stress will definitely aggravate any skin condition, modifying the stress in your life as much as you can and adopting healthy stress management habits will help your skin condition.

Dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD

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