Many people assume that only teenagers get acne, but you can also experience breakouts as an adult. In fact, adult acne is more common than you might realize. Learn more about this condition, what causes it, and the most effective prevention and treatment options available.
How Common is Adult Acne?
If you’re struggling with acne breakouts in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or beyond, know that you’re not alone. An estimated 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women experience adult acne. Plus, about one in three adults with facial acne also experience breakouts on their back and other parts of their body.
What Causes Adult Acne?
Acne occurs when hair follicle openings become clogged and blocked with oil and dead skin cells. If you’re getting acne as an adult, one or more of the following reasons could be to blame:
- Hormones: Fluctuating hormones are one reason women are more prone to adult acne than men. Breakouts may occur around menstrual cycles, during pregnancy and menopause, and after starting or stopping birth control.
- Stress: Researchers have found a link between stress and acne flare-ups. Your body produces more androgens when you’re stressed, which stimulates excess oil production and clogs your pores.
- Diet: Certain foods raise the inflammatory markers in your body, which can increase the risk of adult acne.
- Skincare products: Some cosmetics are prone to clogging pores. Plus, sharing makeup with others can allow acne-causing bacteria and dead skin cells to get onto your brushes and applicators, leading to new breakouts.
- Medications: Some medicines trigger acne flare-ups as a side effect.
How to Prevent Adult Acne
You may not have full control over your condition, but you can limit adult acne breakouts with these tips:
- Wash your face twice a day: Make a rule to never go to sleep with makeup on. Then, wash your face in the morning for a fresh start.
- Use the right skincare products: Read labels carefully, looking for terms like “oil-free,” “non-comedogenic,” and “non-acnegenic,” indicating that the product won’t cause breakouts.
- Change your diet: While more research is needed, studies suggest that avoiding dairy and high-glycemic-index foods could help improve acne.
How to Treat Adult Acne
If your prevention efforts don’t clear up your skin, try these treatment options:
- Topical treatments: Available over-the-counter and by prescription, topical creams and lotions can help fight acne breakouts.
- Oral medications: Pills taken by mouth are available to treat severe adult acne. Oral birth control bills can also help regulate hormones that contribute to acne.
- In-office cosmetic treatments: BLU-U photodynamic therapy and IPL photorejuvenation are light therapies that reduce bacteria and clear up acne scars. Chemical peels are also successful at treating pimples.
If you’re struggling with adult acne or have any other concerns about caring for your skin, please call Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology at (801) 682-4715 or contact us online. We have locations in Salt Lake City and South Jordan to better serve you.