Adult Acne: Causes and Basic Skincare

I started struggling with acne when I was in my 20s, when I realized that acne isn't just for teens, many of us have it as adults too. I was doing everything I could possible do to fight it, but never could find a permanent solution. In 2008, I started working in dermatology office. After few months, I have decided to see a dermatologist in the office for the first time to discuss my acne and what I can do to treat it. I was explained causes for adult acne and different treatment options to help me to control it. Today, my acne is under control and I'm very happy! Here's what I've learned over the years and a basic skincare I follow to keep my skin clean and acne-free.


Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. If you’re getting acne as an adult, it is likely due to one or more of the following reasons:

FLUCTUATING HORMONE LEVELS: An imbalance can lead to breakouts. Women often experience fluctuating hormones:

- Around their periods

- During pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause

- After discontinuing (or starting) birth control pills.

STRESS: Researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones 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.

FAMILY HISTORY: Does a close blood relative, such as a parent, brother, or sister have acne? Findings from research studies suggest that some people may have a genetic predisposition for acne. People who have this predisposition seem more likely to get adult acne.

HAIR AND SKIN CARE PRODUCTS: If you have adult acne, you should read the labels on your skin care and hair care products. Make sure that you see one of the following terms on every container:

- Non-comedogenic

- Non-acnegenic

 - Oil-free

 - Won’t clog pores

You want to make sure your moisturizer, cleanser, sunscreen, and all other products contain one of these terms. These products are least likely to cause acne.

MEDICATION SIDE EFFECT: Acne is a side effect of some medicines. 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.

UNDIAGNOSED MEDICAL CONDITION: Sometimes, acne is a sign of an underlying medical condition. Once the medical condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne often clears. 

Your dermatologist can help you figure out why your acne is happening. I recommend that you do your research of dermatologist in your area and get establish. 


We all have different skin types: NORMAL, OILY, DRY, and SENSITIVE. Some people also have a combination of skin types in different areas of their skin. How to determine your skin type?

Normal skin shows neither oil nor flaking skin. It should feel supple and smooth. If you have it, consider yourself lucky.

- Oily skin is characterized by the grease on the tissue. It is also common for a person with oily skin to have large pores and a shine.

- Dry skin may feel taut or show flakes of dead skin. It is associated with small pores. Moisturizing is important for this skin type.

- Sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, your face reacts easily to regular skin products. This means that when you use regular skin products, your face will get red, itchy, or a rash could form.

- Combination skin is most common. It exhibits traits of all four skin types.


Wash your face twice a day in AM and PM. This goes without saying. I know that we all get tired and lazy, especially in the evenings, but cleaning your face should always be a priority of a daily skin care routine. Use cool or warm water and a gentle cleanser. You can use your hands, a baby washcloth (it's gentler than a regular one), or a cleansing brush for 30 seconds. I personally use "Clarisonic" brush, which I love! It loosens dirt and oil, removing deep-seated impurities from pores and priming skin to better absorb topical treatments. Lastly, pat your skin dry (do not rub). Tip: Always use a separate towel just for your face. 


Cleansers wash away dirt, grime, makeup, and pollution. A good cleanser will also let other skin products reach your skin and work better. Choose gentle cleaners that won't strip your skin.


Retinoid creams or lotions can help clear your skin and also lessen wrinkles. Products made with sulfur can be good for the occasional spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide is another acne fighter. Use benzoyl peroxide products only occasional, because they can dry out your skin. You could also try a milder benzoyl peroxide product. 


Some cosmetics include salicylic acid, which fights acne. In general, look for skin care products that say on label that they are noncomedogenic (which means they don't clig pores) or non-acnegenic (they don't cause breakouts). 


Medications that affect hormones, like birth control pills, can help control acne. You might also discuss antibiotic pills and prescription retinoids with your dermatologist. There are also antibiotics that are effective. Remember, not all skin types are the same, we are all unique and so is our skin. 

Choose what works for you, follow steps above and establish with a dermatologist in your area to help you fight acne. Love your skin, take care of it and you will see the difference in just few months. 

❤ Do you suffer with acne? What skin care routine do you follow to control it? Share in the comment section below! ❤

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