February 3, 2021
3 min. read

Adult Acne: You’re Not Alone, Here’s How to Handle It


Acne symptoms range from mild to severe. Mild adult acne usually consists of blackheads, whiteheads, or small pustules. In its more severe form, adult acne can also include papules, more extreme redness, swelling, irritation, and deep cysts.

What causes adult acne?

Adult acne can be caused by a wide range of factors, though most cases are the result of a combination of inflammation and clogged pores.

adult acne

Hormones : Excessive or fluctuating male and female hormones can lead to adult acne. Hormones create changes in the body, including the environment of the skin. These changes can lead to a pH imbalance of the skin, as well as inflammation, differences in circulation, or excessive production of oil. Hormonal fluctuations occur naturally during the process of aging, as well as for females during menstruation, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and breastfeeding. The acne caused by hormonal changes usually appears deep and cyst-like, and is often tender and painful.

Contact irritation : Anything that comes into contact with the skin that lowers the skin’s defenses can cause a protective reaction that leads to inflammation. Common irritants include harsh cleansers and razors used against dry skin.

Emotional stress : Emotional stress can cause biological changes in the body which trigger acne. Feelings like fear and anxiety trigger the body’s adrenal glands to make more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can create an imbalance in the skin and cause acne.

Physical stress : Physical stress can trigger hormonal changes and inflammation, and can weaken the immune system. Causes of physical stress include but are not limited to extreme weather, extreme weather, lack of sleep, illness, dehydration, and exposure to environmental irritants.

Clogged pores : When your skin produces excess oil, this can cause clogging of your skin’s pores. A rapid turnover of your skin cells can also lead to backed up hair follicles. These can both trigger adult acne.

Bacteria. : When certain bacteria is present in the skin, it can cause adult acne. It’s important to note, however, that the buildup of this bacteria on the skin is not a result of poor hygiene. The bacteria accumulate underneath the skin and can’t always be reached through surface cleansing.

Foods : There is no consensus among scientists about whether or not foods are responsible for adult acne. However, some doctors believe that avoiding foods such as white flour products, sweets, dairy, and fast food may lower your risk of adult acne.

patient provider

How is adult acne treated?

For those bothered by their adult acne, there are a variety of effective dermatology treatment methods available.

Reduce stress : Meditation, exercise, and deep breathing are all ways to reduce stress in your life. This can help you get better control of the physical and emotional stressors in your life that may be causing your acne.

Home remedies : There are several powerful home remedies for adult acne, including oral supplements you can take and substances applied directly to the skin. These include: apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, green tea extract, tea tree oil, zinc, vitamin A, and probiotics. Please speak with your doctor prior to taking any non-prescription products.

Medications : There are a number of different over-the-counter and prescription strength medications that can help treat adult acne. Topical retinoids are available as creams, gels, or lotions, and work by turning over skin cells faster to prevent clogged pores, making them a mainstay in any acne treatment regimen. Other treatment medications include Benzoyl Peroxide containing products such as Benoxyl and Clearasil, topical antibiotics (Benzamycin, Acanya, Duac), oral retinoids (Absorica, Claravis), and oral antibiotics (Minocin, Solodyn, Seysara).

acne remedies

If you feel you are experiencing adult acne, reach out to your provider to see what treatment options are right for you, or contact one of our expert pharmacists today.


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