Is acne a prevalent pang of adolescence, or a life-long skin health challenge? Turns out it can be both. While acne is associated with teenage years filled with raging hormones and the struggle for social acceptance, many adults are finding themselves caught in the middle of an acne epidemic. Skin care professionals and dermatologists alike are also reporting adult acne is on the rise. Clinical studies indicate between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population in the 20 to 40 age group has been diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin, with the primary catalyst identified as chronic stress. Balancing personal and professional responsibilities makes this generation of adults the most time-compressed generation in history, which contributes to chronic stress: the constant, continued and heightened level of stress that throws our adrenal glands into overdrive, which in turn can boost sebum production, setting the stage for acne development. Once there’s a boost in sebum production, the cascade of events leading to breakouts begins: oil spills onto skin’s surface and acts as a binder, creating a mixture of oil and cells that blocks oxygen from entering the pores. The lack of oxygen creates the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to the swelling, redness, and inflammation around the follicle, resulting in acne. Adult cases of acne are often more persistent and more inflammatory than teenage cases. Adult acne is also often accompanied by skin sensitization, or a combination of skin conditions, which makes treatment more challenging. To successfully treat, clear and prevent acne, the cascade of events leading to acne development must be controlled; but don’t turn to popular teen-centric treatments that may be too harsh and irritating. Oily skin Oily skin is often caused by hormone signals that increase the normal rate of sebum production and release. Typically, the surface feels greasy to touch while the appearance is shiny, often with visible pores. Acne and other blemishes are commonly associated with oily skin, although this negative aspect is balanced by it being less prone to wrinkles and other signs of advancing age. The recommendation is to use organic products formulated for oily skin. Moisturise each evening but avoid the temptation to cleanse too frequently. Rather than removing excess oil, this action stimulates the sebaceous glands and may exacerbate the problem. A healthy diet with lots of raw fruits and vegetables combined with outdoor exercise will help to balance the endocrine system and alleviate minor problems associated with oily skin. As with other skin types, adequate protection against the damaging ultra violet components of sunlight are required. Oily: Skin slick with shine upon waking is a feat accomplished by only true oily skin types. Another giveaway is grease residue that builds on skin’s surface during the day and easily transfers to anything pressed against the face, whether it’s a blotting tissue. Acne-prone: Whether it’s due to genetics, larger pore size, or over active skin, acne-prone types break out more easily than their peers. Age often determines whether the acne is bacterial, hormonal, or hereditary, and depending on the severity, consistent topical care can clear skin. For more stubborn cases, a visit to a dermatologist for antibiotic and retinol options may be in order.