Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?

adult acne causes and treatment

“The best makeup you can wear is glowing healthy skin” We all stand by this phrase but sometimes it’s just impossible to stick to this alone! The reason? Courtesy- PIMPLES! The bumps that no foundation can hide have made us cancel so many date night plans! The unsightly bumps that haven’t gone even after our puberty are long OVER! But why haven’t they? Ever wondered why? Well if you have, here is the full guide on Adult Acne: Prevention and Cure.”

We as teenagers never shared the same opinions as others! However, there was one thing common in us, and that was regarding our hatred towards “PIMPLES!” In those days, we were looking out for fast-track ways to get rid of these ugly bumps when people were saying,  “Oh! Once you step out of this stage, your pimples will be history!” Only if it were true! Still, in the 30s, we’re facing the same issues! It’s like “puberty hitting again!” Even if you do not apply high-end makeup, these nasty pimples still appear.

There are various reasons for our adult acne and the most important one is “hormonal imbalance”. We go through various stages in life that imbalances our hormones which in turn leads to increased sebum production leading to clogged pores and hence, ACNE! In such cases, you will have to get a medical consultation to effectively combat your adult acne but there are some mild-moderate cases of acne too that can be treated at home! However, like anything else, home remedies take time to show effective results!

If you’re too impatient to wait for the slow results of home remedies, there are some clinical treatments for the same too, like blue light treatment! To know more about such treatments and preventions, keep reading! Let’s uncover everything about adult acne and make your skin flawless moving ahead!

What Is Adult Acne And How To Cure It?

Acne is a skin condition whereby the pore on our skin gets clogged by dirt, oil, and bacteria. Our skin has pores that have minute hair follicles in them. Beneath it, all lie sebaceous glands that release sebum (oil) that travels through the pores from these hair follicles.

The main function of these glands is to make our skin lubricated. However, when excess dirt and oil gets trapped in the pores from where sebum reaches the surface of our skin, it turns into the breeding space for bacteria. Hence leading to what we call “breakouts”.

These breakouts are common in teens going through puberty but adults also have them! There’s nothing more depressing than to wait till your 20s for pimples to go away and only come to realize that “No, they aren’t going away!”

Adult acne can be surprising for the ones having flawless skin in adulthood but know what? It’s pretty common! It’s reported that “Acne” is the “eighth most common skin condition worldwide”. 

Almost 85% of females have adult acne in their later 30s, 40s, and even 50s. On the other hand, only 15% of men have adult acne and there are many reasons for the same.

These pimples can occur as “whiteheads or blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts or nodules” where some of them can be treated by OTC skin care products while some can not! The reason behind the same is their cause! To successfully treat adult acne, you need to get to the root of the problem! Thus, let’s first look at what causes these late 30s pimples and then get on to know their treatment!

Also Read: 7 Best Summer Moisturizers For Acne-Prone Skin By Dermatologists!

Major Causes Of Adult Acne | Who Is The Culprit?

Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?
Source: The Indian Express

So? Why didn’t your acne go unlike your next-door neighbor’s daughter or son? Well, that’s because you didn’t know what was causing them in the first place! Blindness following remedies can work once in a blue moon but not always!

To successfully bid adieu to your stubborn adult acne, let’s know what causes it first!

1. Pollution

Pollution is one of the major causes of Acne. Some cleansers do not deep clean our skin. This leads the dirt to build up over time that gets clogged up in pores. This then leads to, you guess it right, ACNE! That’s why it is always advised that you exfoliate your skin at least once a week to get rid of hidden impurities lying on your skin’s surface. 

Note: If you already have intensive breakouts, do not exfoliate as it will worsen your skin condition.

2. Hormones

Hormonal fluctuations often lead to pH imbalances and irregular sebum secretion which in turn leads to bad skin conditions. Among adults, especially females, acne is the major cause of these hormonal imbalances that arise during pregnancy, menopause, menstruation, breastfeeding, etc.

Hormonal acne is often cystic in nature which is sometimes painful and sometimes, not that much!

3. Diet

Excessive dairy or sugar intake in your diet often causes adult acne. In addition, unhealthy diets like fast food can also cause acne. This is why you need to take care of what to eat so as to have healthy skin! Many of your acne problems will go away if you monitor your food intake only and replace your unhealthy habits like smoking or alcohol.

4. Stress

Emotional and physical stress leads to hormonal imbalances which in turn leads to “Adult Acne”. While in a state of extreme anxiety and other emotional stress, our body secretes more Cortisol to help deal with our stress which leads to breakouts sometimes.

Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Moreover, physical stress in the form of irregular sleeping habits, illness, or dehydration can also cause adult acne.

5. Medication

Some medications are bound to have side effects and sometimes these side-effects result in acne. Some medicines also imbalance our hormones leading to excessive sebum secretion leading to breakouts!

Medicines like antidepressants and some epilepsy medications can lead to adult acne. Even contraceptives which are known for treating adult acne can also lead to breakouts for some people. 

Also Read: 5 Best Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum | Best Night Serums For Glowing Skin!!

6. Clogged Pores

Clogged pores are the main reason behind acne in general. 

Excessive sebum secretion leads the oil to build up in our pores leading to clogging up. These clogged pores then lead to whiteheads, blackheads, or even cystic pimples.

7. Bacteria

Bacteria can’t be seen from the naked eye. Even if you clean your face regularly, there might be cases that the pimple-causing bacterias have already penetrated into your skin. 

Propionibacterium acnes cause pimples if it manages to build up beneath our skin. So in such cases, washing the face or cleansing might not work.

8. Irritation

Our defense mechanism is strong and sometimes false alarms like small scratches trigger our body in action mode! Such false alarms make our body secrete protective enzymes and this can often lead to breakouts too. Especially, if you’re using razors on dry skin and it causes inflammation. 

How To Get Rid Of Adult Acne Effectively At Home?

Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?
Source: Healthline

If your adult acne is mild and caused by factors like pollution, diet or slight irritation, then these can be easily treated and prevented at home. For slight, non-inflammatory acne, home remedies are wonderful as they are cost-effective.

However, if your acne isn’t caused by the above-mentioned factors, then you need to see your skin specialist who will deeply assess your skin and give you the best possible treatment. 

Now coming back to home remedies of treating and controlling acne! First of all, some of these are for you to apply on your skin and some are to be taken as oral supplements! 

Some of the effective home remedies to treat and control acne are: 

  1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help to get rid of mild or moderate adult acne. Although it’s not as effective as other oral supplements recommended by skin specialists, it’s known to treat acne and other skin-related problems. 

For best results, apply 100% tea tree oil on your skin daily and wait for the results. If you have some allergic reactions to this oil, then drop it before it worsens your skin! Although the latter isn’t common, it’s best to take extra precautions when it comes to your skin!

  1. Aloe Vera

The clear gel present in Aloe Vera has antibacterial properties that help to soothe irritated skin! For centuries people have been applying aloe vera to their skin to get the best of nature!

Aloe is used by some people to treat moderate and mild acne and there are many ways to do the same. You can buy 100% pure aloe extract and apply it directly to your skin or mix it with other ingredients like honey and cinnamon as a mask!

  1. Green Tea Extract

Catechins present in green tea have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties that help to soothe irritated skin and other lesions. It’s a great non-chemical treatment for your stubborn adult acne and you can use it many ways.

Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?
Source: Healthline

You can make a green tea mask by removing the tea leaves (1 or 2 depending on how severe your acne is) from tea bags and then moistening them with warm water. Once your tea leaves are moistened enough, add honey or aloe vera to them. Then apply this paste to your acne! You can repeat this process two times a week for the best results!

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has lots of health benefits and it can also help you to prevent and control your adult acne! This highly acidic vinegar is known for effectively lowering blood sugar levels, weight loss and also helps in reducing the risk of cancer!

It has lactic, gallic, chlorogenic, and protocatechuic acid which is best to treat our acne-prone skin as these organic acids help to regulate our sebum production. However, do keep in mind that this is highly acidic and hence you have to properly dilute it before applying it to your skin! 

Washing your face with ACV helps to reduce toxins from the skin and is also good to treat blackheads and whiteheads.

  1. Zinc

Zinc is the guardian of our body and also a guardian for your acne! It has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight bacteria and other viruses. 

To get the best results of zinc for your acne-prone skin, use topical zinc to treat your mild acne. The results might take time to appear but even after three months of use, you see no visible reduction in your pimples, try consulting your skin specialist.

Moreover, it is important to note that oral supplements of zinc are better to treat stubborn cystic acne and inflammatory nodules.

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are what you call “friendly bacteria” and are very beneficial to treat adult acne and other dermatological conditions. Taking probiotics has effectively helped many people to get rid of their acne and overall improvement of their bodily functions.

The anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics not only help in the reduction of clogged pores but also effectively improve our gut, and immune response.  

  1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a rich nutrient that helps to maintain our overall health. The anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin A help to cure adult acne.

Vitamin A-rich products are called retinol or retinoids which also help to effectively combat early signs of aging! Eating Vitamin A-rich foods like carrots, broccoli, spinach, beef liver, etc can also help you in combating your underlying skin conditions. If you’re going for OTCs or topical supplements, then you should know how it helps you to treat your adult acne! 

Vitamin A helps in the reduction of inflammation, smoothens skin, increases cell growth, decreases sebum production, etc which helps you in getting flawless skin! 

Also Read: Best Aveda Skin Care Products | The Best Nature Based Products!

Other Ways To Treat Adult Acne

Adult Acne: Major Causes And How To Get Rid Of Them?
Source: WikiHow

If you have already tried the above-mentioned home remedies to treat your adult acne and nothing came to fruition, then it’s time to see your doc! 

Hormonal adult acne can not be cured at home as it requires an expert checkup to determine what’s leading to your hormonal imbalance. So it’s necessary to see a skin specialist who will assess your skin and recommend a cure! 

Here are some of the treatments that have been recommended by dermatologists to help combat your acne! Some of these are OTC medications. But do not take them just as it is! You need to get yourself checked before blindly following any remedy! 

  • Retin-A, retinol
  • Sulfur
  • Blue light therapy
  • Antibiotics 
  • Oral birth control pills
  • Hydroxy
  • Salicylic acid

Prevention Of Adult Acne 

We can have acne in our late 30s, 40s, and 50s too and there are many reasons for the same. The most prominent case of adult acne is hormonal imbalances and in that case, you have to see your doctor who will recommend the best remedy for you. 

If you have mild to moderate adult acne, then it can be cured by following some of the home remedies mentioned above. Perhaps, if you want to prevent them from occurring in the first place, then it’s better you adopt a good skin-care routine! 

A good skincare routine will prevent you from falling under the mercy of acne! 

However, before adopting any skincare routine, you should know that the first step is always- “Eating healthy”. Eating healthy and exercising daily is essential for healthy skin! 

Essential Skincare Dos For Acne-Prone Skin

  • Never wash your face twice a day. 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Pat your face dry instead of rubbing it. 
  • Only use gentle cleansers.
  • Do not over-exfoliate your skin. 

Summing Up

Acne can occur in our late 30s and 50s too and there’s no helping it! We go through various stages in life that lead to hormonal imbalances that in turn result in dermatological conditions like adult acne! 

To successfully prevent and treat acne, you should first ensure that you’re leading a healthy and stress-free life! If your acne is frequent and stubborn, then it’s best to get yourself checked before trying any OTC medications as it will only worsen your skin condition! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best skincare routine for acne-prone skin?

The morning skin-care routine for acne-prone skin is:
1. Cleanse
2. Tone
3. Sunscreen
4. Apply Treatment Products (if prescribed)
5. Moisturize

What are the best acne treatment products for acne-prone skin?

Here are some of the best acne treatment products:
1. Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser
2. Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
3. Tretinoin
4. Altreno
5. Tazorac
6. Hers Prescription Acne Cream
7. Inn Beauty Project Pimple Paste
8. Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
9. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
10. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment

What causes sudden acne breakouts in adults?

The major cause of sudden acne breakouts in adults, especially females, is due to “hormonal imbalance”. This happens during pregnancy, breastfeeding, menstruation, etc. Other causes of sudden breakout can be “reaction to some medication or beauty product”, “stress”, “diet”, etc.

Is acne related to food? 

Healthy skin is the result of a healthy diet. What you eat reflects on your skin and hence, the condition of your acne! If you eat excessive junk food, then you’re prone to have acne. Furthermore, it is believed that excessive dairy intake also leads to acne. However, this assumption isn’t scientifically proven yet.

How do I know if my acne is hormonal?

Hormonal acne usually occur around the chin and jawline. So if your acne is around these areas most of the time, this may be the case of hormonal acne. However, not always! To be sure that your acne is hormonal, you can take note of the timings when they occur (like do they occur once a month) or “are they cystic in nature?” If the answer is Yes, then you may as well regard your breakouts as hormonal!

What causes forehead acne in adults?

The major cause of any acne is “clogged pores”. The same goes for your forehead acne. Additionally, some hair-care products like oil and wax can also cause papules and pustules on your forehead (tiny red bumps with or without pus).

Featured Image Credits: GQ

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