Unfortunately, Acne Can Rear Its Ugly Head in Your Golden Years
You’ve heard enough jokes about your second childhood… but no one warned you about a second adolescence! The first was bad enough, right? But right in the midst of fretting about wrinkles, there it is. Right there on your nose or cheeks is a big red lump. It looks strangely familiar, but it’s been decades…. Could it really be acne? It’s rare for seniors to develop acne, but it does happen. Could something be wrong?
In a word, yes. The rare lone pimple is unusual but not necessarily alarming, but if you start to develop pimples, blackheads, whiteheads or other spots, it could be time to contact your dermatologist for a check. It isn’t vanity. It actually could be a sign of a real health problem such as over production of hormones from the ovaries or adrenal glands, and the sooner your dermatologist has a good look at it, the better. While make-up could have blocked the pores, adult acne could also indicate a disorder or disease that needs treatment sooner rather than later. Don’t try to treat it as you would have decades ago because with drug store medications; that will simply mask the symptom. You would be better off to get medical evaluation and treatment.
When You Go to the Doctor…
It is helpful to think ahead and make some notes before you go to see your doctor about your adult acne, especially if you see multiple doctors. It’s easy to forget something or be unable to fully answer an unexpected question. Remember, it’s better to tell your doctor you are unsure about the answer to a question than to blurt out a quick yes or no. Here are some questions to consider and make notes about the answers before your visit.
- Have you started, changed or stopped any medications? Remember to bring a full list of the medications and supplements you take and the dose for each.
- When in your life have you had acne before? Did you just suffer a few pimples in your teens or did you experience adult acne into your 40s or 50s?
- Have you changed anything in your skin care routine lately? Are you using new cleanser, moisturizer or shaving cream? A new after shave or perfume? Maybe a new shampoo, conditioner or other hair care products? Are you doing anything different with your make up?
- Has your diet changed? Have you added or eliminated any foods? Do you have someone new preparing your meals? Do you have any new food cravings or aversions?
- Do you have any other new symptoms? Have you noticed any other changes with your body recently?
You don’t need to run to the doctor because you’ve noticed one pimple, but if you begin to notice them regularly or develop larger cysts, do make a point of seeing your doctor sooner rather than later.
While most of the time adult acne is not a serious condition, you’ll be relieved and your dermatologist can suggest the best treatment. And if it is a sign of something more serious going on internally such as medical conditions that alter body hormone levels, the sooner you get it treated the better off you will be.
So, a 67 year old can rarely get acne for medical reasons, but usually it’s just something that happens randomly and improves with prescription treatment.