What is Adult Acne?

Mar 19, 2024 | Acne Types | 0 comments

People think if they hit past puberty, Adult Acne simply stops. For most people, it does but some percentage in the population and predominantly women still suffer this skin condition into their mid-30s or so. Some women and men even survive adolescence and young adulthood acne-free but develop it in their 30s and 40s. Rosacea is sometimes mistaken as Adult Acne but this is a totally different skin condition, as it causes redness and the blood vessels are visible on the face.

Pyoderma Faciale or Rosacea Fulminans, another skin condition that resembles a cross between an acne and rosacea, which is an unusual skin condition occurring in young adult women. This is considered a severe form of Rosacea. This dermatologic condition is characterized by inflammatory papules, pustules, and nodules on the face that doesn’t arise from comedones. Starts abruptly and rarely persists more than one year or so and is not associated with oily skin.

It is a fact that nearly all Adult Acne is caused by inflammation and clogged pores. As acne in a hereditary skin problem, it’s usually a combination of various factors that trigger it. It sounds confusing and even a bit mysterious but we will break it down how Adult Acne develops.


Factors that contribute to Adult Acne:


1. Genetics

Adult Acne is always described as a hereditary skin disorder. A person’s genetics determine their pores’ propensity to get clogged and their body’s amount of sebum production. It’s simply can be defined a person’s predisposition to acne. If a parent has issue with Adult Acne, the children might have an increased likelihood of developing it too.


2. Hormonal Fluctuations and Birth Control

Hormonal Fluctuations, especially the excessive male or female hormones can trigger Adult Acne as these changes affect the body and skin. This can lead to hormonal imbalance that can lead to inflammation, body circulation changes and / or excessive production of oil or sebum.
This is a part of the process of aging, and for women, they experience it during PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum (after giving birth), and breastfeeding.
Steer clear of low-estrogen birth control pills as these are higher in androgen hormones content and make acne-prone skin worse. Namely Norplant, Depo-Provera shots, most IUDs like Mirena, Skyla and Liletta can cause acne breakouts. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) breakouts are caused by high testosterone.


3. Stress

Stress is defined as how the brain and body respond to negative situation or threat that is brought about by external world, whether it is real, perceived or even imagined. Stress comes in physical or emotional forms or a combination of the two.
Physical stress is brought about by the lack of sleep and rest, dehydration, external elements like weather and environmental factors like loud noises, cold weather or hot temperatures, etc. Emotional stress is when a person is feeling scared, anxious, afraid and / or pressured. Stress from work can be considered a combination of both physical and emotional stress that’s why having a good work-life balance is essential.
It can make Adult Acne worse and when you’re under stress; your body produces more cortisol, a.k.a., the stress hormone. Chronic and long-term stress is a well-known trigger that contributes to Adult Acne development due to higher levels of sebum production. Overall these can trigger skin issues, hormonal changes, weakened immunity and inflammation.
Stress management and finding ways to cope will benefit you in more ways than one. Relaxing, catching on your sleep, exercising and self-care go a very long way.


4. Pollution and Sun Exposure

The environment has an effect on a person’s skin. Exposure to dust and air pollutants can bring about Adult Acne. Air pollution exacerbates Adult Acne as it will intensify the clogging of pores, irritation and bringing about inflammation. Exposure to chemicals like tars, oil, grease and inks can trigger Adult Acne too.
Exposure to the sun especially for prolonged periods causes dark spots and long-term pigmentation. The harmful UV rays can cause premature skin aging and causes damages such as wrinkles, leathery skin and the worst case scenario, skin cancer. The rationale is that when the skin dries out, it makes the body to compensate in its oil production, thus, leading to Adult Acne.


5. Pore-Clogging Makeup

Makeup and skin product ingredients clog the pores and causes breakouts. There is a need to pay attention to the ingredients of your cosmetics like fragrance, dyes, alcohol, acrylics, parabens, and silicones.
Invest in some non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance free makeup. Avoid putting on makeup with dirty hands. Wash your hands properly before applying it on. Don’t ignore allergic reactions and don’t go to bed with makeup on. Clean your face properly and remove all traces of makeup prior hitting the snooze button.


6. Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes are a magnet for bacteria, oil and dirt. Make sure you clean and wash your brushes at least once a week with a mixture of warm water and gentle soap, rinse and wipe down on a hand towel or paper towel and air-dry them. Sanitize and /or wash where you store these brushes on a regular basis.


7. Skincare and Hair Care Products

Lotions, lip balms, toothpaste, and hair and skin care products that contain comedogenic ingredients can cause Adult Acne when it gets on your face. Toothpaste and lip balm can cause Adult Acne flare ups around the mouth area. The same with hair care products like shampoo, hairsprays, hair gels and pomades that contain parabens and silicones.


8. Frequent Face Cleansing

Too much washing and exfoliating of the face can make Adult Acne worse as it dries out the skin and it makes the skin compensate by producing more sebum. People with sensitive or dry skin must only wash their face at most once a day. Some exfoliants are too harsh for your skin and most experts recommend using products that contain lactic acid, glycolic acid and / or salicylic acid over scrubs and brushes which are considered harsher form of exfoliating as it is manual or physical exfoliant.


9. Food

Certain dietary factors, including dairy and high-carb, high-sugar and high-fat foods may worsen Adult Acne. Like how sodas, sugars and sweeteners, and chocolates also can. People with Adult Acne would benefit from following dietary restrictions. Instead consume and incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Probiotics, Green tea, Turmeric, and a Mediterranean-style cuisine.
A well-balanced low-glycemic diet that is low in simple sugars can be very beneficial to your health and well-being, especially your skin.
This is an easy quick-view guideline to help you reduce your food intake that contains iodides, androgens and anything that causes inflammation and the recommendations that you can substitute. These may not all be applicable to you. You must determine your food triggers and food sensitivities.


10. Medical Conditions

What is Adult Acne: one of the symptoms of a medical condition as it is with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) that is characterized by irregular periods, facial hair and weight gain. It is also known to cause hormonal acne due to abnormal fluctuations in women’s hormones.
A thyroid disorder can also cause Adult Acne. If the thyroid is underactive, the body may suffer from a progesterone deficiency and consequently leads to estrogen dominance that causes breakouts and oily skin. Unfortunately, the medications used to treat thyroid issues can also trigger Adult Acne.


11. Medications and Recreational Drugs

Certain drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, speed, steroids (topical and oral), corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA, and medications that contain bromides or iodides contribute to Adult Acne flare ups.
Some prescription medications can cause Adult Acne like the ones for bipolar disorder and thyroid issues, or any medication that contains quinine, Isoniazid, Immuran, Danazol, Gonadotrophin, Cyclosporin, Disulfuram, Phentermine, and ADD/ADHD drugs.


12. Smoking

It is clinically proven that smoking can cause Adult Acne in some women, usually in the form of non-inflammatory acne and characterized by blocked pores and large blackheads. This is otherwise known as Smoker’s Acne and smoking has a contributing factor to Adult Acne severity and prevalence.
Nicotine, a chemical found in most cigarettes increases sebum production and reduces Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and essential to a person’s overall health and reduction of this may increase bacterial infections that causes Adult Acne.


End Thoughts

In conclusion, Adult Acne is a multifaceted issue that can be triggered by a variety of factors including genetics, hormonal fluctuations, stress, environmental influences, skincare and makeup products, dietary choices, underlying medical conditions, medications, recreational drugs, and smoking. Understanding these triggers and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, such as managing stress, adopting a balanced diet, using suitable skincare products, and avoiding harmful substances, can help individuals effectively manage and reduce the occurrence of Adult Acne. Additionally, seeking medical advice and treatment for underlying conditions contributing to Adult Acne is crucial for long-term management and overall skin health. By addressing these factors holistically, individuals can improve their skin condition and enhance their overall well-being.



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The article INGREDIENTS IN SKIN CARE PRODUCTS TO FIGHT ACNE could be also interesting for you and is an excellent addition to this article about Ingredients in Skin Care Products!


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