Guide to Adult Acne

I Have Adult Acne... Now What?

Acne is frustrating at any age, but maybe even more so during adulthood. Get the facts about adult acne, its causes and treatments, and get your breakouts under control.

Why Do I Have Acne as an Adult?

Woman examining face in mirror
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Once you've graduated from high school, you think you'd be acne-free. But that isn't always the case, and many people don't understand why they haven't outgrown their pimples.

Actually, adult acne is a fairly common condition and has the same basis as teenage acne — an overabundance of sebum, skin cells becoming trapped within the pore and causing blockages (comedones), and a proliferation of the Propioni bacterium.

Adult Acne or Rosacea?

Make sure what you are experiencing is really acne, especially if you have never had acne before. You may be surprised to learn that what you have is really rosacea, or even another skin condition altogether. If you suddenly develop an acne-like rash or begin getting pimples for the first time in your life, you should see your doctor. Certain skin conditions can look just like acne. Getting the correct diagnosis is an important first step in successfully treating your skin.

The Prevalence of Adult Acne

Acne is not uncommon, even during adulthood. And it seems your gender strongly influences adult acne development. Although it doesn't seem fair, women are more likely to suffer from adult onset acne than men.

Hormones and Acne

Acne breakouts often occur when major hormonal changes are going on in the body, for example during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. These hormonal shifts often trigger acne breakouts for both teens and adults. Certain hormonal conditions, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, can also trigger acne breakouts.

What Can Be Done for Adult Acne?

Don't give up hope. With a good treatment regimen consisting of acne medications and daily skin care, you can get considerable improvement. But the acne treatments you used as a teen may not be the best choice for your adult skin. While teenage skin tends to be super oily, chances are your skin today is less oily. Products geared toward teen acne may be too drying. And you may have other issues you'd like to address too, like sun damage or aging. Tailoring your skin care routine and acne treatments for your skin as it is today will give you the results you're looking for.

Understanding Acne Scars

No one wants to develop scars. First and foremost, don't pop your pimples. Squeezing, picking, or poking at your blemishes can increase your chances of developing scars.

Even with careful care, you may develop some sort of scarring. This is especially true if you get severe inflamed breakouts or cystic acne. Talk to your dermatologist for advice on how to best treat your acne scars.

Your Self-Esteem

Acne affects an adult's quality of life more than it does a teen's. It's important for all sufferers to get help for their acne, but especially so for adults. Research has shown that acne negatively affects an adult's self-esteem and self-confidence, even more than it does for teens. Having an acne-treatment plan in place can help you feel less anxious about your skin.

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