If you’re forever bemoaning the presence of pimples, spots, painful under-the-skin boils or, to give it its medical term, acne, then you’re definitely not alone. According to the International Dermal Institute, adult acne is on the rise. Clinical studies indicate that almost 50 per cent of people in the 20 to 40 age group suffer from acne and persistently oily skin. And at Dubai Derma 2018, the UAE’s annual dermatology conference, adult acne was a major subject.
Olimpia Carmen, anti-ageing and cosmetology expert, and head of the Laser & Skin Care Department at Wellbeing Medical Centre, says: “I have been working in Dubai for the past 20 years and I have treated different cases of skincare conditions, but recently I have found a 60 per cent increase in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment, with more women affected than men.”
“It has been the bane of my life, and I still suffer,” says Dubai resident Nicola Kathleen Theresa, of the under-the-skin cysts she has suffered from throughout her adult life. Others who have come forward for the purpose of this article (who prefer not to be named) suggest that adult acne has impacted their social lives and even their relationships, inhibiting their interactions to the point of avoiding job interviews and nights-out with their friends.
According to the International Dermal Institute, what makes acne worse for adults is our sensitised skin, which is much less resilient than it might have been in our teenage years. The kind of acne that adults face is inflammatory, with hormonal breakouts around the mouth, chin and jaw. We’re also less responsive to treatment than teenagers.
“A pimple occurs when sebum – the lubricant that naturally moisturises our skin and hair – is trapped under dead skin cells and debris in a hair follicle,” says Carmen. The sebaceous gland is responsible for the production of this natural lipid. If it’s overstimulated, it produces too much oil, which then begins to gather and clog in our skin’s ultra-fine hair follicles and pores, causing acne…