How To Get Rid Of Adult Acne: Causes And Treatments

What Causes Adult Acne & How To Get Rid Of It?

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Acne haunted you during your teens, but did you know these pesky zits have a way of coming back even after you reach your thirties? Almost 35% of women in their thirties battle acne breakouts. Are you looking for ways to treat acne even after progressing into your adult years? Well, you are not alone.

What Is Adult Acne?

Adult acne are skin lesions that break out due to a number of factors. While they are mostly seen on the lower part of the face, they can occur anywhere on body. Acne is caused when the sebaceous glands produce too much natural oil (sebum) and clog the skin pores due to a hormonal imbalance, stress, genetics, health or other factors. Especially with Indian climate conditions, adults in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s find themselves struggling with severe acne outbreak. For some, this can result in hard, painful cysts under the surface of the skin.

Dermatologists treat acne from all age groups – teenagers who have experienced acne since their adolescence or adults developing this condition for the first time. Lately, the prevalence of adult acne is on the rise, with females experiencing acne at higher rates compared to males.

Also Read: Get Solutions To Adult Acne Near You

Adult Acne Causes

The primary causes of acne breakouts in adults are:

  • Hormones – A hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of adult acne, especially for women. The fluctuations in hormones can result in an acne breakout for some skin types in adults. Typically, abnormal hormonal changes are caused during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, and any time your birth control method changes. Certain conditions like PCOS trigger hormonal imbalance thus bringing about adult acne in women.
  • Stress – Stress is the root cause of all problems, and it is known to produce certain hormones which stimulate the oil glands to produce more oil, and thus contribute to adult acne outbreak.
  • Family HistoryResearch proves that some people have a genetic predisposition for acne. If your family or close relatives have had acne, then it is likely for you to have adult acne too.
  • Hair and Skin Care ProductsIt is recommended to thoroughly analyse the skin and hair products that you use, as the chemicals present can cause an inflammatory reaction on your skin. Ensure that you see at least one of the following terms in the products you use:
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Non-acnegenic
    • Oil-free
    • Will not clog pores
  • Side effect of medicationSome medicines are known to cause acne as a side effect. If you suspect that your acne is being triggered by your medicine, then you can ask your doctor for an alternative. Make sure that you discuss your skin type and health condition.

Also Read: What Are The Major Causes Of Acne?

What Are The Best Treatments For Adult Acne?

  • Chemical peel – A Chemical Peel process uses plant extract based concoctions in varying strengths, that bring about controlled exfoliation of the upper layer of dead skin. The most common acne control peels are salicylic acid and glycolic acid that clear dead skin cells from the surface layers and reveal the healthier skin below. This helps in clearing adult acne, after a few sessions.
  • Medication – Break outs can be controlled by prescribed creams, products and gels. Birth control pills might be used to regulate hormonal fluctuations. For controlling inflammation, oral antibiotics and other prescription medicines can be used.  The choice of medication depends on the skin condition and sensitivity.
  • Lasers – This treatment involves using beams of focused light to perform controlled thermal injury under the skin. This prompts the production of new collagen cells through the skin’s natural mechanism to heal. It gently removes excess oil and dead skin cells from clogged pores using a vacuum, helping in getting rid of scars quickly and easily.
  • Microdermabrasion – This process is used to unclog pores and clear acne by gently exfoliating the upper layer of the skin through abrasion and suction. Microdermabrasion uses fine crystals or minute diamond-studded tips to scrape the skin and simultaneously uses vacuum suction to remove dead skin cells. Using microdermabrasion in combination with gentle glycolic peels and medical acne extractions is known to give fair results.

Also Read: How Do You Get Rid Of Teenage Acne?

How To Prevent Adult Acne?

Acne can have several underlying causes and consulting a dermatologist will help narrow your specific issue. However, following a skin care routine will help maintain healthy skin and keep skin problems at bay

  • Invest in good hair and skin products:
    • Clean your skin every day. A good cleanser will help get rid of all the dirt, grime, pollution, and makeup, and let your skin breathe easy. Choose a right cleanser (after consulting your dermatologist) that does not harm your skin.
    • Invest in a good cream or lotion that contain retinoids, which will help in clearing your skin
    • Benzoyl peroxide is effective against acne but should be used occasionally as it can cause skin dryness. It is recommended to use a low strength variant of the product only after consulting your dermatologist
    • Use cosmetics that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, so you do not clog your pores.
  • Drink eight to twelve glasses of water a day, to keep your skin hydrated and so to enrich the body circulation so that your skin can flush out toxins.
  • Eat healthily and avoid foods rich with a high glycemic index
  • Follow a good fitness regime with a walk, jog, swimming and meditation to calm your mind and body. It helps keep stress away.

Also Read: How To Prevent Pimples On Face?

Does Food Cause Acne In Adults?

There are beliefs that certain foods can cause acne must be avoided, but there are no studies supporting the claim. It is recommended to eat the following in moderation as there can cause other health issues –

  • Milk
  • Soda or aerated drinks
  • Pizza covered in excess cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • White Bread
  • Fried Food
  • Excess Meat
  • Alcohol
  • Excess intake of energy drinks (as they contain large amounts of sugar)

Also Read: What Should You Eat To Avoid Pimples?

It is recommended to consume high protein and low glycemic foods, if you are suffering from adult acne.

Acne is a troubling problem, which doesn’t seem to leave our side even after getting into our 30s or 40s. Check in with your dermatologist to get to the root of the problem and find a holistic solution treating both the cause and the aesthetic factor, to fade adult acne.

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About The Author

Kushneet Kukreja

Kushneet Kukreja

A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.


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