Zits aren’t only a problem for teenagers or women. In fact, acne affects 25 percent of adult men. Additionally, one-third of adults impacted by facial acne also have it on their back and body. Acne not only damages skin permanently, but also does a number on confidence. Jeremy Fenton, M.D., dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group (New York City), has help for men in their quest for clearer skin:
- OTC Solutions - A mild case of discoloration can be improved with regular use of an over-the-counter product that helps exfoliate away that top layer of damaged skin cells. Products like washes, pads or peels that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid can be helpful, especially if combined with an exfoliating scrub.
- SPF - Using good sun protection (SPF 30 or higher) EVERY day will also help minimize the hyperpigmentation, especially in people with darker skin types.
- In-Office - As for pitted acne scars, it really takes an in-office laser like CO2 and Fraxel resurfacing to reduce the appearance.
Sweat Induced Acne
- Shower Right Away – A large component of body acne is a buildup of a combination of sweat and dead skin cells clogging up the pores and leading to bacterial growth. Showering soon after a workout will prevent that sweat from sticking around. If you don’t have time or access to a shower right after your workout, you can use a medicated pad with salicylic or glycolic acid (such as Clear Clinic ClearMe Pads) for a quick wipe-down.
- Antibacterial or Anti-acne Wash – Look for a body wash containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. One tip for using a benzoyl peroxide wash is to leave it on for a few minutes after you lather before rinsing it off to help the medication sink in.
- Regular Exfoliation – Exfoliating scrubs, body brushes, or just a washcloth can make a big difference.
- Breathable Clothing - Try to wear loose fitting, breathable cotton clothing. The tighter, synthetic materials just compress the sweat and dirt into the pores.
- Cortisone Injection - For the occasional cystic pimple that pops up, a dermatologist can give it a quick cortisone injection that can reduce the inflammation and make it disappear in a matter of days.
- Oral Medication - When the acne is deep, we need to use something systemic. For men, the first option is a course of oral antibiotics. If that fails, we generally have to consider isotretinoin (more commonly known as Accutane). This is the closest thing to a “cure.”