Adult acne

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One of the more confusing skin conditions is suddenly seeing a breakout of acne once you think your pesky adolescent years are behind you. This a very common situation called Adult Acne and is quite different from the acne that is part of growing years.


Teen acne is triggered by the puberty changes in the body – primarily the androgen hormones like testosterone which are directly linked to stimulating an increase in oil production on the skin which leads to clogged pores filled with bacteria. The level of production of these hormones and oil is also dependent on genetics so these two factors are ideally the main reasons behind teen acne.

Adult acne is mainly caused by

TRIGGERS like lifestyle, stress, etc. often activate the cortisol hormone (increasing the oil or sebum production), this coupled with exposure to pollution and free radical damage result in oily surfaces where dirt and contaminants get trapped making the skin appear grimy and blocking pores.

Also, women are more prone to adult acne due to other hormonal fluctuations, like around their periods, during or post pregnancy and even during menopause.
Adult acne can also be a side effect of an incorrect diet, lifestyle, certain medication as well as an allergic reaction to skincare that doesn’t agree with your skin. Certain steroids, birth control, stress and even sleeping aids can cause acne as a side effect.

Due to the suddenness of adult acne, most people are caught unaware and tend to use emergency (and highly concentrated) acne medication which leads to further inflammation and can cause another chain of acne eruption.

Since teenage skin is healthier when it comes to cellular turnover, even the worst case of acne and acne left scars are easier treated than adult acne. This is because our skin slows down regenerating itself as we grow older, so the chances of our skin healing completely from a bout of adult acne depends entirely on how we care for our skin during and after this time.


unlike teen acne, some forms of adult acne can show up just in a few spots, leaving the rest of the face clear and untouched. This tempts us to “pop the zit” so to speak, or during facials using comedones extractors to force open the acne spots which leads to permanent scarring


we all need to use cleansers and moisturizers, sunscreens, as part of our daily skincare. But if you are prone to or facing adult acne, check if all products used on your skin are non-comedogenic which simply means they don’t block pores.


applying a primer or foundation to cover up acne spots is a good concealing technique, but can lead to spreading the acne to other parts of the skin, using makeup on acneic skin should be only when required and that also just for a few hours at best.


using skincare with acne healing and bacterial cleaning properties like tea tree, salicylic acid, benzoic peroxide is a must especially in your cleanser and toner to deeply cleanse your pores and rebalance your skin pH.

Adding Retinol (vitamin A) is a great idea as it is a gentle exfoliants as well as an anti-aging skin ingredient, so will help eliminate acne as well as help regulate the healing process as well


most adult acne prone skin start degrading faster as they avoid using sunscreen as they find it greasy, which in turn leads to hyper pigmentation marks, photo damage showing up as fine lines and dehydration as well as the skin starts to generally age faster. A sunscreen is a must to use, but opt for water-based sunscreens as oil-based skincare is heavier on the pores and can cause blockages.


Chemical Peels – peels are exfoliating treatments that strip away the unhealthy oils and grime blocking pores. The best part about peels is that they can be customized to work not only on acne but also other signs of adult skin like aging, hyper pigmentation, rejuvenation, dullness etc. A reputed clinic will be able to customize a peel routine for your skin to multitask working on both the acne spots as well as to revitalize and give you clearer even textured skin.

Blue LED light treatments – Blue Light can not only penetrate acne spots and kill bacteria, it’s also a completely non-invasive treatment, which is great for skin that is already sensitive and delicate.

Er Yag (Glass) Laser - a very successful aesthetic treatment for adult acne is using laser light and heat to not only help with acne reduction (by targeting the acne bacteria) but also start collagen renewal for scar healing and repairing the damaged pores left by the acne.


Cut down on processed foods, sugars and dairy – binge eating, erratic working hours and junk food diets add to the chances of adult acne. Try to maintain a healthy diet rich in balanced nutrients, proteins, minerals, complex carbs, anti-oxidants and so on.

Cleanse skin before sleeping – our skin heals itself during sleep time, so any clogged pores prevent that from happening. Also, bacteria tend to grow and increase in areas within blocked pores, so a good nighttime cleansing ritual will help keep pores fresh and regulate the sebum cycle as well.

Sleep patterns – hormonal changes due to melatonin secretion is a big factor behind acne and dark circles, any erratic sleeping patterns, lack of rested sleep or shortened regular sleeping hours result in acne breakouts.

Exercise and blood circulation – sweat not only eliminates toxins from our bodies, it helps regulated the sweat/sebum {oil} balance. Not to mention exercise can boost blood circulation and release oxygen into our blood more effectively making our skin healthier and more toxin free.

Pore cleansing masks – adding a pore cleansing mask with ingredients such as clay or activated charcoal helps to regulate and cleanse the skin, so include them in your skin routine at least once in 15 days.

Mindful balance of hormones – knowing that our lives as adults are stressful enough is a strong enough reason to add de-stressing techniques like meditation, breathing exercises as well as detox beverages like green tea, chamomile, spirulina etc. Into our lifestyle. Since cortisol (the main stress hormone) is the biggest factor behind adult acne, a good control on keeping stress activators at bay is a great idea.


Acne is subjective as to why and what has triggered it in your skin, as no two people have the same reasons, they have acne and so its solutions require to be customized and personalized as well. A mix of oral and topical medication combined with skin treatments will be very helpful in treating any bouts of adult acne and also help prevent future episodes.


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