While many people associate acne with their teen years, it’s possible for people to experience the condition later in life, even if they didn’t develop it in their teens. In fact, up to 15% of American women have adult acne, which affects women more often than men.
As with adolescent acne, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this version. You don’t develop adult acne because of poor hygiene or eating chocolate, and it usually won’t go away on its own. When over-the-counter solutions aren’t enough, visit dermatologist Jennifer A. Baron, MD, FAAD, FACMS for the specialty care you need to beat adult acne.
Causes behind adult acne
There’s no difference between adult and teen acne. Both result from a combination of excess skin oils, skin cells, and bacteria-clogging pores, leading to the characteristic inflammation and facial redness that you associate with acne.
It’s often not clear why acne forms for some people and not others, but when you’re affected, it can often be traced to one or more of six common reasons. Knowing the factors contributing to your acne may help with treatments to break the acne cycle.
A family history of adult acne could explain your outbreak, if no other factors seem to be contributing. Usually, it will be a close blood relative, such as a parent or sibling.
Changes in hormone balance
Just as with teen acne, changes in hormone levels during adulthood could be responsible for your outbreaks. Women tend to be more affected by adult acne than men due to the way hormone balances change so frequently. Menstrual periods, pregnancy, hormonal birth control, and menopause can all affect this balance, and when androgens get the upper hand, acne could follow.
Skin and hair care products
Anything you put on your skin has the potential to clog pores, starting the acne cycle. Choosing oil-free makeup and sunscreens may help reduce adult acne. Shop for products labelled:
- Won’t clog pores
Switching product brands may also help you pinpoint which items contribute to your outbreaks.
Side effects of medication
Some medications can trigger adult acne as a side effect. Continue to take the medication to control the condition for which it was prescribed, and check with Dr. Baron to see if it could be a factor in your acne episodes.
Stress, on its own, isn’t considered a primary cause of adult acne, but there’s a connection between stress and acne outbreaks. If you’re prone to acne due to another cause, adding stress to the mix could result in more frequent or more intense outbreaks.
Other medical conditions
Acne is sometimes a symptom of another medical condition that may not yet be diagnosed. Once recognized and treated, the acne side effect may subside.
Contact Jennifer A. Baron, MD, FAAD, FACMS to add a professional partner in your fight against adult acne. Call the office at 408-329-6056 to schedule a personal consultation today.