Reasons for Adult Acne

Reasons for Adult Acne Mar 1, 2022 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

Reasons for Adult Acne

Most people develop acne at some point in their life, but you’d think that you'd be past the point of pimples and blemishes when you're in your 20s, 30s, 40s, right? Well, it’s not true for everyone. In fact, some adults get acne into their 50s. It may even be their first time ever really having acne, too. Here's what we need to know about adult acne... 

Who Is Most Likely to Experience Adult Acne?

More women are likely to experience acne as an adult. Studies show that around 15% of women over 25 still have acne or will develop it for the first time. Fewer men report experiencing acne as an adult. Dermatologists call this “adult-onset acne.” 

What Type of Acne Is Most Common?

As an adult, the acne that you will likely develop is inflammatory or comedonal. Inflammatory acne is shown as papules and pustules, whereas comedonal acne is shown as large closed comedones. Once the acne goes away, the skin is prone to scarring.  

Reasons for Adult Acne?

If you’re struggling with acne as an adult, it’s possible that it is being caused by one or more of the following factors. 
  • Fluctuating Hormone Levels - Women can experience an imbalance of hormone levels, which often leads to acne. Hormone levels typically fluctuate around women’s periods, during pregnancy and menopause. Starting, stopping, or changing a birth control pill can also cause a flare-up in breakouts. Oftentimes acne isn’t an immediate reaction either, acne can occur months after this change. 
  • Stress - Stress has been found as a common denominator in many skin issues — acne included. When we are stressed, our bodies react by making more androgen hormones. These types of hormones activate the oil glands and hair follicles that contribute to acne.
  • Family History - If one or both parents dealt with acne when they were younger, there’s a good chance that you will experience it as well. Even relatives like a brother or sister having acne can be a sign to watch for. Having close blood relatives with acne makes you inclined to be genetically predisposed for acne. If you fit the predisposition, you’ll likely get it as an adult. 
  • Hair and Skin Care Products - The products that you use for your hair and skin could be contributing to your irritated skin. Look for product labels that say non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, oil-free, or won’t clog pores. Products that have this terminology are the least likely to cause acne. 
  • Medication Side-Effect - Some medications can trigger acne side-effects. If you believe that your medication is causing your outbreak, continue to take it, but consult with your doctor. If acne is a common side-effect of the medication, they may be able to recommend an alternative. If there isn’t an alternative medication, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss treatment plans. Some common medications with acne side-effects are steroid inhalers, birth control, and testosterone. 
  • Underlying Medical Condition - Acne can be a sign that there are other underlying medical issues. If this is true for you, once the condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne will often clear. In women, a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome often underlines chronic and difficult-to-control acne. 

Are There Treatments Available?

Yes, there are treatments available to treat adult acne. The most effective are prescription medications that your dermatologist can recommend. The treatment may include a combination of topical medication, cleansers, moisturizers, and oral pills. If you’re tired of dealing with your adult acne, contact Complete Family Dermatology in Lincoln. Our board-certified dermatologist will help you find the right treatment plan for you and get your acne under control. To schedule an appointment, please call 402-423-1111! 


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