What Is Adult Acne And How To Deal With It?

Written by Kinnari AsharAug 09, 2022
What is Adult Acne and How to Deal With It?

Just when you thought you had left your temperamental teenage skin behind, you are introduced to another unwelcome guest, adult acne. Accumulation of excess oil and bacteria on your skin is the leading cause of acne. Doesn’t matter whether you had acne during your teen years or not, it’s still possible that you’ll end up with adult acne. The thought of pimples-meeting-wrinkles itself can take your frustration one level up. Read on to know what is giving you acne in your 20s and how you can avoid it to have clear and healthy skin.  

What is adult acne?  

Your sebaceous glands are not behaving themselves — they’re extremely overactive. Yes, it happened to you in your teens and it’s happening again or it never happened to you then and it’s happening now. Adult acne typically occurs between 20 to 40 years of age and there are several reasons for it.  

Adult hormonal acne is usually caused by hormonal concerns like PCOD (Polycystic ovary syndrome). While it might be more persistent than teenage acne, adult acne is surely similar—there’s inflamed skin, acne and bacteria settling into the skin. But you’d be surprised to know that even pregnant or menopausal women can suffer from adult acne as that’s when hormones generally play havoc in our body. These pimples are deeper and aren’t the usual kind of blind acne but instead, appear majorly around the jawline and are more cystic in nature. Another reason for acne in adult women could be stress as women usually find themselves struggling with too many situations once they hit adulthood. 

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What Causes Adult Acne?  

Given below are the causes of adult acne.  

Not taking care of the skin on a daily basis  

Touching your face frequently, forgetting to remove makeup, sleeping on dirty pillowcases, picking at pimples and skipping your facial cleanser (or washing your face too frequently!) will contribute to breakouts and adult acne on cheeks. As a result, your face can become clogged with debris, causing bacteria to enter. 

Using the wrong cleanser  

As you step into your 20s, you start stocking up on new and exciting beauty products which may or may not suit you. Girls, don’t do that to yourselves. Only use chemical-free, natural skincare products to make sure your skin doesn’t pay the price.  

To cleanse your face, use Simple Daily Skin Detox Purifying Facial Wash that does not contain any harsh chemicals and is soap-free to suit oily and sensitive skin. Its unique formula is made with a detoxifying blend of thyme, zinc and witch hazel to deeply clean dirt, oil and make-up while being gentle on the skin. You can see results from day 1 with visibly clearer, fresh skin and instantly controlled shine. 

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Cosmetics with bad formulation 

The development of pimples can be induced by certain oily substances. A cosmetic or makeup product containing one of them can damage your skin. It's easier to avoid this issue if you use water-based makeup or cosmetics. To prevent makeup from settling into pores overnight, remove it before going to bed. 

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Family history  

Researchers found the acne resistance in follicles is also hereditary sometimes. There's a higher chance of a person developing adult acne if they have a first-degree relative who has it. 

Changing hormone levels  

Hormonal imbalance, especially in women, is one of the most common causes of adult acne. This is because hormonal imbalance leads to inflammation, causes an imbalance in the pH levels as well as increases sebum production — all of which lead to acne

Hair and skin products that don’t suit you  

Often, the cause of adult acne is as simple as using skincare and cosmetic products that do not suit your skin type. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then using products that have a very heavy and creamy texture could clog your pores and lead to breakouts

A hair care product may be responsible for acne on your hairline, forehead, and back of your neck. Acne breakouts may be triggered by products such as shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. The same goes for styling products such as hair spray, waxes, gel, and pastes. Once you discontinue these products that are not right for your skin and hair type, acne will clear up. 

Physical & emotional stress  

When you go through stress — be it emotional or physical — your adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol, which disrupts various bodily functions such as the immune system, digestive, and neurological systems. Cortisol is also responsible for making your skin a breeding ground for inflammatory bacteria that can cause adult acne. 

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Treatment for Adult Acne  

Here’s how to treat adult acne using home remedies and medical treatments.  

Home Remedies for Adult Acne  

Given below are some home remedies that you can try at home if you’re wondering how to get rid of adult acne.  

  1. Use tea tree oil on spots. 

  1. Apply aloe vera gel to your skin. 

  1. Zinc supplements can be helpful. 

  1. Use apple cider vinegar on the affected area. 

  1. Apply green tea on your skin. 

  1. Use witch hazel to soothe the skin.  

  1. Use cinnamon and honey as a mask. 

  1. Add fish oil supplements to your diet. 

Medical treatment for Adult Acne  

Retinoids are often found in over-the-counter adult acne treatments. Dapsone gel, topical anti-inflammatories, is also effective in reducing acne. Male hormones can be reduced by taking an oral prescription medication called spironolactone. If you want to get rid of acne faster, you can also try chemical peels or blue light therapies. But make sure to consult your dermatologist before you take any medication. 

Can we suffer from acne forever?  

Acne seems to disappear with age on its own. A study found that acne is less prevalent after age 44. Moreover, acne sometimes disappears when a woman reaches menopause. There are, however, treatments available for adult acne until then. In most cases, people find it most effective to use a variety of products together. Usually, adult acne treatment takes between four and twelve weeks to work, and you need to stick with it. 

How to prevent adult acne?  

If it’s a hormonal concern, know that the hormonal problem won’t go away completely. However, what you need to do is bring it under control by way of medicines and treatments prescribed by dermatologists and gynecologists. That’s not all, you must ensure that there’s a lifestyle change such as regular workouts along with a balanced diet. But what you can adopt to prevent and reduce the problem is an acne-fighting regime that helps deal with adult acne. 

Be diligent about your skin care routine 

The number of skincare products out there can definitely lure you into buying more than your skin requires. Did you know using too many skincare products can actually upset your skin’s pH levels? A mild makeup remover, hydrating cleanser and lightweight moisturiser are the essential products you need in your skincare routine. You can obviously juggle products on some days by adding a serum or a cleansing gel to your regimen. However, avoid products with added fragrance and silicones as they can irritate your skin. 

Moisturise properly  

Oily skin girls can’t take risks when it comes to choosing the right moisturiser for them. Oily, sticky moisturisers can clog your pores and make your skin even more oily. Use a lightweight moisturiser twice a day on cleansed skin that is custom-made for oily skin.  

The Simple Daily Skin Detox Ultra-Light Liquid Moisturiser is a specialised solution for people with oily, pimple-prone skin. This blend gives your skin 24-hour hydration and a matte effect, leaving it feeling smooth and soft. This liquid moisturiser is ultra-light on the skin and leaves no greasy residue while making sure it gets all the nourishment it needs. It is formulated with Thyme, Zinc and Witch Hazel, which provides essential hydration and effectiveness against oil and spots. While a blend of Glycerin and Niacinamide maintains a healthy balance to protect against future blemishes. 

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Be patient  

Patience is the key when it comes to dealing with adult acne. Do not pick at it, and follow a good, healthy lifestyle along with the remedies and prescription medication. When you treat your adult acne right, it will surely subside, leading to clear skin.  

Take care of your physical health  

If you’ve been on your own acne rollercoaster, you’d probably know what foods you should eat and what you should avoid. Acne is an inflammatory response, therefore, whatever your body struggles to process will have a direct impact on your skin and show immediately. Chocolate, fried foods, pizza, caffeine, and nuts are all acne-causing foods, so, cut down their intake if you haven’t already and keep a check on your physical health.  


Since adult acne is really stubborn, it can more often than not be really difficult to eliminate. The best way to deal with adult acne is to avoid picking it as it can lead to scarring. Exfoliating regularly helps to reduce post-acne marks and wear sunscreen daily as free radicals end up compromising the skin barrier, which can worsen hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory scarring. 

Kinnari Ashar

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