Many people have the wrong notion that acne is a problem for teens, not adults. But adults in their twenties and thirties often have acne, and the condition can easily recur throughout all of middle age, even in their 50s. Unlike the typical acne in puberty which is caused by excess sebum, adult acne also affects dry skin and combination skin. As the world begins to wake up to adult acne, it’s becoming clear that the psychological, social and physical effects of this condition don’t diminish with age. Neither do the causes of adult acne.
How could this happen at my age?
It’s difficult to know why adult acne seems to be on the rise. A 1999 study found that the average age of patients treated for acne had increased significantly over the course of a decade, from 20.5 years to 26.5 years. This could mean that more adults are getting acne, or more adults are seeking treatment for their acne.
The fact is, adult acne is one of the most widespread medical conditions in the world. So as you can see, you’re not alone.
The Main Culprits
There are a lot of reasons you might get adult acne, and many are beyond your control. As with many conditions, your family genetics play a large part. Chances are good your parents’ acne conditions will be yours. Therefore, adult acne is probably not your fault. What you eat, how much you exercise, and how often you wash your face and body have very little influence, believe it or not.
That said, these are the main culprits that cause adult acne.
Acne can run in families. If your parents had acne, it’s likely that you’ll also develop it.
One study has found that if both your parents had acne, you’re more likely to get more severe acne at an early age. It also found that if one or both of your parents had adult acne, you’re more likely to get adult acne too.
Researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce hormones that stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. This explains why acne can be an ongoing problem when we find ourselves under constant stress.
Greasy foods do not necessarily make a greasy face, the items listed below are known to make acne worse.
Simple carbs and sugar: Any food that leads to a spike in your blood sugar (such as pasta, bread, and sweets) can trigger skin’s inflammatory response and cause breakouts.
Dairy: Several studies have shown a link between dairy products and pimples, perhaps because of the hormones that are present in these foods.
Chocolate: A small study presented at the February 2011 meeting of the Academy of Dermatology found a link between the amount of chocolate that participants consumed (only men were studied, so as to minimize the role of hormonal influence) and the number of acne breakouts they developed.
Medication side effect
Some medications, including lithium, antiseizure drugs, and corticosteroids, can cause acne. If you suspect that a medicine is triggering your acne or making it worse, continue taking the medicine — but talk with the doctor who prescribed it. Ask if acne is a possible side effect. If acne is a possible side effect, ask if you can take a different medicine. If you cannot take another medicine, you may want to see a dermatologist who can help you control the acne, or use a product that can effectively control acne.
More than 80% of cases of adult acne occur in women. It’s thought that many cases of adult acne are caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times.
These times include:
Birth Control Pills: stopping or switching birth control pills can cause your skin to break out.
Periods: some women have a flare-up of acne just before their period.
Pregnancy: many women have symptoms of acne at this time, usually during the first three months of their pregnancy.
Polycystic ovary syndrome: a common condition that can cause acne, weight gain and the formation of small cysts inside the ovary.
Regularly wearing items that place pressure on an affected area of skin, such as a headband, facial mask, or backpack. Also,sometimes, acne is a sign of an underlying medical condition. Once the medical condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne often clears.
How to fight adult acne
The best weapon you have against the causes of adult acne is knowledge. When you understand the factors that contribute to your acne, and how different acne-fighting ingredients work to heal and prevent it, finding the right combination is easy. And when you find what works for you, make sure you stick to that regimen. Adult acne is not curable, but it is highly treatable, and a daily combination therapy routine that targets the factors that cause acne can help you achieve your goal of clear skin.