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While facial breakouts are most common in teenagers, they can also be an issue throughout the 20s, 30s and even into the 40s. For some, acne may appear for the first time in adulthood. In general, the causes of facial breakouts in adults are the same as those in teenagers. Acne is usually related to increased sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance naturally produced by the skin. Excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells that build up in pores, resulting in a clogged pore. The sebum in the clogged pore promotes the growth of a certain bacteria, P. Acnes, which is present in the skin. The result of this bacterial growth is irritated skin. This leads to the redness and inflammation associated with pimples.
If you look closely at the labels of many acne medications, you'll notice that the active ingredient in many is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a member of a class of medications known as keratolytics. Keratolytics work by softening the top layer of the skin (epidermis), making it easier to remove dead and shedding skin cells.
Acne occurs in part when there is a buildup of dead skin cells in the pores. Salicylic acid helps normalize the shedding of the skin cells inside the pores and helps prevent the clogging that, along with oil and bacteria, can produce pimples.
Salicylic acid is available for topical use on Acne in creams, lotions, and gels. Over-the-counter products (items available without a prescription) contain 0.5 to 2 percent salicylic acid. Dermatologists recommend that you apply products with salicylic acid less frequently when you first begin, with a gradual increase in the frequency of use once your skin has adjusted.1
You may find that it takes several weeks to see results. Be patient. Used regularly, products containing salicylic acid are a proven method for treating acne and helping prevent future breakouts.
We recommend that you consult your dermatologist or physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
In general, the causes of facial breakouts in adults are the same as those in teenagers.