September 2 2014

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Breakouts For Big Kids: How To Treat Them


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_

I don’t know if it’s stress or hormones, but I’m well into my thirties and am breaking out like a teenager. It’s mostly under-the-skin blemishes and the occasional cystic outburst—neither of which I can get to myself (I’ve tried). What are my treatment options?

The under-the-skin bumps are milia, which are due to buildup in the hair follicle of the sebaceous glands. It creates almost like a little white balloon overgrown with bacteria. You have to go to a physician to incise and drain these or use a laser or electrical instrument.

The cysts sound like they are part of adult acne, which can indeed be caused by stress or hormonal and endocrinological problems. Certain medications can also be a cause of the flare-up. You treat this similarly as you would teenage acne—with retinoids, oral antibiotics, or birth control. There is no good way to self-extract. All you will do is induce more inflammation with the potential for scarring. But you can try blue light and red light LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and new IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) laser sources with suction capabilities, like those in Acleara, which actually extracts blackheads and bumps from under the skin and heats the sebaceous glands to wipe out bacteria. I think we’re going to start hearing a lot more about this.

New York-based Dr. Neil Sadick, MD, FAAD, FAACS, FACP, FACPh, is a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, the President of the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation, as well as the Global Medical Adviser for Christian Dior Beauty, specializing in dermatology, cosmetic surgery, internal medicine, and hair transplantation. His Park Avenue Prescription, will make its nationwide debut at Sephora in July.



  1. Citygirlinred says:

    I hate adult acne…great information!

The Doctor Is In