How to combat adult acne with tips from Curology’s Dr. David Lortscher

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.30.22 PMBreezy Mama’s Editor Lan tackles the question on every mom’s forehead.. or is that just mine? How to tackle adult acne! From Lan:

Spring is officially here but tell that to Mother Nature. Temperatures are still fluctuating between warm and cold, causing my face to freak out. I had thought I had left breakouts far behind me but this winter-spring season has done a number on my skin.

To understand why women in their 30s and 40s are still prone to zits, I reached out to Dr. David Lortscher, a board certified dermatologist, for help. He is also the founder of Curology, a skincare company that personalizes acne treatment through virtual consultations with an assigned dermatologist who prescribes a customized formula of prescription-strength ingredients that gets delivered directly to your door.


Why are we women in their 30s and 40s still contending with zits and how should we take care of these breakouts?

During periods of stress, hormones that stimulate the oil glands are released, beginning a process that may lead to acne. Some of us go through some very rough patches in life, and simple aphorisms don’t apply. But for many of us dealing with every-day less-than-major stressors, some yoga, and/or meditation, modest exercise and a good night’s sleep can go a long way towards happy skin. Hydration is also key for well-nourished, soft, and glowing skin.

We also recommend checking your cosmetics, sunscreens, moisturizers, etc., and use only products labeled with terms such as “noncomedogenic,” “non-acnegenic,” “does not clog pores,” or “won’t cause break-outs.” A good way to double-check your skin care products is to use!

The label “noncomedogenic” (or similar) indicates that the manufacturer considers the product to be designed for people with oily or acne prone skin and is less likely to cause acne. It is not a guarantee, but can be a useful guideline.

If you have brown spots from prior blemishes or sun exposure, make sun protection a priority. An over-the-counter cream with retinol will help fade spots somewhat over time, but for even more help, consider seeing your dermatologist (in-person or at Curology) to consider a prescription cream containing the heavy-hitter tretinoin.

Time is the best healer for post-acne reddish spots! Azelaic acid, zinc pyrithione, niacinamide and clindamycin (which may be included in certain Curology medications) may reduce inflammation and general redness while you are waiting for time to work its magic. Specialized, in-office treatments using lasers or intense pulsed light may help as well, for those seeking an extra boost.


I notice that I break out more when I am sick. Why and how can I combat that?

We don’t think of being sick, whether it be with the common cold, or the flu, or something more serious, as causing acne. However, being sick influences the body in many ways, and is considered a form of stress. Although stress does not directly cause acne, stressors may trigger acne. Certain steroid hormones, such as glucocorticoids and adrenal androgens, are released during stress. These hormones stimulate the oil glands in the skin, beginning a process that leads to acne. So, it is possible that being ill could induce an acne flare.
The best thing to do is to treat your illness and get better as soon as possible! Make sure to rest and hydrate well. If you feel well enough, do try to continue your skincare routine throughout the duration of your illness (but feel free to skip some steps if needed!).

How should moms change their skincare routine to accommodate spring’s climate change? Any specific pointers for different climates?

You might consider loose powder over a physical sunscreen with a light tint—this works very well in outdoor lighting.

Physical sunscreens contain ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide; with trial and error you’ll likely find one that basically acts like makeup while protecting your skin.

Choose a sunscreen that is labeled “water resistant” if you’ll be in and out of wetter or humid environments. Since no sunscreen is fully “waterproof” or “sweatproof”, the FDA prohibits these terms—so don’t even try to find one that you can apply and forget about for an entire day!

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