WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Catherine Burke has pretty much tried everything to get rid of her acne.
“I tried an egg yolk. That didn’t work and it was messy. [I tried] a banana mask, you mash it up with some yogurt and that didn’t really work either,” Burke said.
Burke, 26, said her struggle began around puberty, but in some ways, it was more awkward having acne as an adult.
“I was very self-conscious. You see all these girls on TV and models and they all have perfect skin,” she said.
“Catherine is a great example of what I see almost every single day,” Dr. Sarah L. Taylor, assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, said.
“Female, not a teenager, and may or may not have had acne as a teenager,” Taylor continued.
Taylor says women in their 30s, 40s and 50s can struggle with acne primarily because of hormonal changes.
"When it's [around] the mouth, jawline, upper neck, that's the hormonal area. By that I mean the hair follicles here with their attached oil gland have more testosterone receptors than elsewhere in the body.” Taylor said.
For that reason, women can often see improvement with an oral contraceptive that contains estrogen.
Over the counter products including benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be helpful as well.
For Burke, seeing a dermatologist was best. She wanted to be picture perfect for her wedding day and not feel self-conscious taking pictures.
She has been prescribed an oral and topical regimen.
"I wanted to be on my honeymoon and not have to wear make-up, heavy make-up."
Dr. Taylor says contrary to popular belief, diet is not a contributing factor to acne with the exception of research that has shown a link to dairy.
Dairy in general is not an issue, but rather the hormones given to cows to increase production could have an impact on hormones in humans. From this perspective, Taylor suggests buying organic milk.