Read on here to learn about adult acne causes, its prevention, and the best adult acne treatment option for you.

Most people think they will not have acne issues after their teenage years. But the truth is that though most often it occurs during puberty, it can affect adults too. Actually, the number of people who get adult acne has increased over the past two decades. (Source 1)

Though acne is generally considered an adolescent skin problem, it can occur in people of all ages.

Adult acne typically affects women more often. According to a study involving 454 adults with acne, 85 percent of the adults were found to be female. (Source 2)

In many ways, both causes and treatments of adult acne are similar to adolescent acne. But adult acne has some unique characteristics, too.

Adult Acne Causes

Mostly, the same factors that cause acne in adolescents are also responsible for acne in adults. The four major factors that directly cause acne are too much oil production, pores getting blocked by “sticky” skin cells, bacteria, and inflammation.

There are also some indirect factors that contribute to the abovementioned direct factors, including:

(i) Hormones, menstrual cycle, and stress, all of which can increase oil production

(ii) Oil-based skin care products, hair care products, and makeup, which can block skin pores, can potentially trigger acne breakouts.

(iii) Diet, which can cause inflammation throughout the body.

(iv) Some people are genetically prone to have acne. This happens when someone in the family has suffered acne breakouts, either as a teen or an adult. This person could be your parent or sibling. It could be even a more distant relative – an aunt, uncle, or cousin.

(v) Some medications have been linked to adult acne breakouts, including corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, and lithium, which can also cause acne.

Learn here how to get rid of clogged pores

How to prevent acne breakout in adults?

Although adult acne is not always completely in your control, the following are some tips that can help you in preventing breakouts:

(i) Avoid sleeping with makeup on.

(ii) Read labels: When buying cosmetics and skin care products, always look for the terms “oil-free,” “won’t clog pores.” or” non-comedogenic.”

(iii) Avoid using hair products or facial products that have oil.

(iv) Some acne spots may not be acne but are post-inflammatory pigment changes from picking at acne, pimples, or previous acne lesions. Using sunscreen with SPF 30+ daily helps prevent the darkening of these spots.

(v) Some studies show that certain dietary changes may help lower the risk of acne. For instance, one meta-analysis of 14 research studies that involved nearly 80,000 children, adolescents, and young adults found an association between dairy products and a higher risk of acne. Some research studies have shown an association between high-glycemic-index foods (that cause blood sugar levels to rise more quickly) and acne.

Best Adult Acne Treatment Options

Your acne treatment method depends on the severity and type of acne.

(i) If your skin is acne-prone, always choose simple, non-irritating skin care products. Go for safe and gentle products for your skin, and eliminate harsh products that can worsen matters.

Never squeeze or pick at acne lesions because that can lead to skin scarring and discoloration.

(ii) Topical Tretinoin: It turns over your skin cells faster, so it helps in preventing clogged pores. It plays an active role in any acne treatment regimen. The bonus point you get is treating fine wrinkles plus brightening and evening skin tone.

(iii) Isotretinoin (Accutane, other brands) is taken by mouth. It is the best way to cure to treat severe acne.

Caution: Women who are pregnant need to take special precautions when taking isotretinoin, as it can cause significant harm to the fetus.

(iv) Spironolactone: This prescription medicine is an effective treatment for hormonally driven acne in women that flares with the menstrual cycle. It works by keeping testosterone in check. Another treatment is oral birth control pills. They help regulate hormones that contribute to acne.

(v) In-clinic treatments: In-office treatments like chemical peels may help treat acne and fade out post-inflammatory pigment changes. Another option is light-based treatments done in the office, like photodynamic therapy also sometimes helps.

Good news for you: Almost all cases of acne can be successfully treated

CAUTION: You must get a proper examination done by a certified dermatologist to determine the proper treatment regimen.


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