Acne can be a problem not only for teens, but also for women well past their twenties, thirties, and even their forties. Many women continue to suffer from recurrent breakouts well into menopause and beyond, causing embarrassment, frustration, and stress in already busy lives.
Changes in women’s hormones, specifically a decline in estrogen levels, allow the other hormones commonly known as androgens (i.e, testosterone, progesterone) to have a greater effect on our skin. Androgens stimulate oil glands to produce sebum. This increase in sebum triggers bacterial overgrowth and inflammation in the skin which results in tender, nodular or cystic pimples on the lower part of the face particularly the chin, the lower cheeks and jawline, and the upper neck. Androgen levels normally peak during the week prior to menstruating and this is experienced by many women as increased oiliness and acne flares each month in the week prior to their period.
What signs to look for
Scarring from acne is best to avoid since total correction can be extremely difficult even with the latest technology. Acne scars commonly occur on the face, chest, and back and may appear as:
- Shallow depressions or divots
- Deep, ice-pick indentations
- Firm, rubbery bumps or nodules
- Dark brown spots and discoloration
- Persistent pink or red blotches
In general, the deeper and larger the pimples, the greater the risk is for residual scarring.
What you can do
If your acne is causing you discomfort, either physical or emotional stress, there are effective treatments to help. Acne is extremely common in women of all ages and is often a bewildering side effect of hormonal contraceptives, pregnancy and postpartum changes, as well as approaching menopause. This can lead to unwanted imperfections in the skin, especially surface defects and discoloration. Therefore, early treatment of acne is ideal to prevent scarring.
State-of-the-art acne treatment includes topical medications (both prescription and non-prescription), oral antibiotics, Accutane, and blue light therapy. At The Menkes Clinic, we also offer aesthetic treatments to help control acne and reduce the appearance of acne scars. These include acne facials, chemical peels, skin rejuvenation, laser treatments, and Silk Peel infusion microdermabrasion.
My approach to the treatment of acne starts with recognizing that each patient requires an individualized treatment plan reflecting her unique needs. I evaluate each patient’s medical history, lifestyle, personal goals, and treatment preferences in order to formulate the most effective plan that will result in healthy, clear, and radiant skin. At The Menkes Clinic, together with my colleagues Dr. Andrew Menkes and Dr. Krystle Wang, we strive to answer questions clearly and to provide the latest, scientifically proven treatments for our patients.
– Lillian F. Sohoo M.D.
Questions? Call us today!