Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adult acne linked to stress?

Acne has been around forever. Yet acne has always been thought to be a teenage problem, not one seen in adults. An increasing number of adults are coming in with disfiguring acne breakouts. Could it be the stress of our everyday society? A recent article in the British Journal of Dermatology found a direct connection between stress hormone elevation and acne breakouts.

Adults are clearly breaking out with more pimples; sometimes they can look worse than their adolescent children. Thankfully, there are many ways to deal with this problem. Some patients can be treated with a variety of antibiotics or other oral medications. However, all such medications have potential side effects.

An alternative is the laser approach that has developed extensively over the last 5 years. There are now lasers that decrease the bacteria that cause acne. Some of these light-based devices, known as light emitting diodes, are painless and can be used on all skin types. Other lasers work through a heat based effect and can shrink the oil glands that promote acne. Finally for very difficult acne patients, a topical medication known as amino-levulinic acid (ALA) can be activated by certain lasers to have a profound acne clearing effect. In fact, some investigators feel that this process, known as photodynamic therapy (PDT), may eventually lead to a cure for acne.

One of the greatest benefits of laser acne treatment is that some of these technologies not only help to clear acne, but also improve acne scarring. The scar improvement occurs because such lasers produce new collagen formation. This leads to acne scar improvement and smoother skin.

So it is true that stress does cause acne flares. In our current stressful times, laser treatments can lessen the stress by clearing acne and making skin look healthier.

David J. Goldberg, MD
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center
Boca Raton, FL
Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of NY/NJ

Jason Pozner, MD
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center
Boca Raton, FL.

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