Pimply Faces Not Merely the Curse of Teenagers

Middle-aged AcneIt was bad enough to break out in zits as a teenager. It’s just not fair for a man in his prime to develop acne too. Yet millions of middle-aged men do develop bad, spotty skin, just as their kids are outgrowing the condition.

If the occurrence comes unexpectedly, and you have no previous history of acne (especially as an adult), then the main culprit is most likely medication of some kind.

Acne’s Connection with Testosterone

Adult acne is a common complication of testosterone replacement. Whether testosterone is taken by injection or by patch, it stimulates growth of the skin. The skin around pores tightens and sebum gets trapped inside, forming whiteheads that may oxidize into blackheads or that may become infected to form pimples.

The same can also happen when men take oral or injected steroids for inflammation, severe allergies, or arthritits.

Amiodarone – The Heart Drug

Another medication that almost always causes acne is a heart drug known as amiodarone. Made from iodine, this medication increases the sensitivity of the skin to both sun and medication. Sensitive skin swells around pores, also trapping skin oils inside.


Antibiotics can also trigger severe, infectious acne. Every man’s skin is home to a small number of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. These usually harmless microbes feed on excess skin oils and keep them from clogging pores. When a pore is occluded by growing skin, however, the bacteria may multiply in the base of the pore.

The skin’s immune system attempts to kill the bacteria with inflammatory hormones, but the bacteria release “decoy” molecules that cause the inflammatory substances to stick to healthy skin cells, and that’s bad news for acne sufferers.

Antibiotics never kill all bacteria. They leave the meanest and more virulent bacteria. When the most rapidly growing acne bacteria begin to multiply in your pores, acne, every bit as bad as any outbreak you ever had in your teens, may crop up overnight.

3 Cardinal Rules for Managing Adult Acne:

  1. Never pick at pimples
  2. Never pick at pimples
  3. Never pick at pimples

Picking, mashing, or needling pimples just forces the infection deeper into the skin. The outer layers of skin can grow over the infection, and then you have a cyst.

The most useful thing you can do to fight infection is simply to wash your face with a mild soap like Cetaphil that you rub across your skin with clean fingertips (not a wash cloth) and then rinse off with warm water.

Anything that makes your skin tingle can also cause further irritation. Alcohol can dry out your skin but there is almost never enough alcohol in any anti-acne product actually to kill acne bacteria. Try to keep your skin cleansing routine simple.

Don’t pick at blackheads, either

Use an alcohol-free moisturizer like Clean and Clear or Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Lotion to soften up your skin so that blackheads simply fall out naturally.

And you can get the red out of your skin with products made with tea tree oil. Any product that contains at least 10% tea tree oil, such as Mason Vitamins Tea Tree Oil applied with a clean cotton swab, will both kill acne bacteria and stop inflammation in its tracks.

Asian Dating

Persistent Acne in Midlife Males

Remember, if you’re experiencing acne for the very first time, or the first time in a long time, it usually signals a problem that needs to be brought to your doctor’s attention. Even if you get your acne cleared up with using a proper skin care solution, be sure to mention the outbreak, or outbreaks, to your doctor at your next check-up.

Robert Rister is a senior health writer here at 50ish.org

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Readers Comments

    Andy Aitch says:

    I’ve been a victim of acne on and off all my life from about age 14. Not only is it unsightly, but it can be incredibly sore at times too, as any sufferer of this hideous skin condition knows.

    I think I must have tried everything over the years to stop these outbreaks, but when those clusters of throbbing zits wanted to come and dance around the face and neck, they would! Then, one day in 2010, I found a site that had a solution – at last!

    That site is called acne.org. After following the suggested steps my skin was totally clear of acne within about 14 days or so. I could hardly believe it – after all these years!

    The Acne.org Guidelines for success follow 5 simple steps

    1. Do it every day
    2. Follow precisely
    3. Be gentle
    4. Start slowly
    5. Use a lot ( meaning Benzoyl Peroxide)

    The only problem with the regime is that you have to continuously apply Benzoyl Peroxide plus a quality moisturiser (this is to stop Benzoyl Peroxide drying the skin). Failure to keep this up will result in future eruptions.

    I can’t remember quite when it was, but one day I ran out of the Benzoyl Peroxide and decided NOT to get a replacement for a while and attempt to monitor food consumption and lifestyle to see if I could find a root cause as to why I got these periodic outbreaks. After all, I now had a workable solution to rid any new outbreaks should they reoccur.

    After a number of days it became clear. My outbreaks were caused by iodised table salt – mainly. Even as a kid I used to apply far too much salt to my food, but never made the connection.

    Little did I know at the time, in my ignorance, that salt is found in so many foods that it takes more effort to reduce one’s intake than stopping that which sprinkles out of a dispenser.

    So I cut right down on the salt and foods that contained too much of it. The acne cleared up as if by magic some days later. I then sprinkled it over every meal again and within 36 hours the acne began to reappear, first on the cheeks and then on the middle neck. It really was that quick. Who would have thought it!

    Different people get acne outbreaks for different reasons, but if you have trouble with spots and can’t pinpoint the root cause, then why not look at your salt consumption? And if that’s not the issue, then take a look at the 3 step regime over at acne.org.

    The only thing you have to lose by trying is your adult acne. Good luck 😉

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