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Causes of Acne in Adults

Adult acne is not uncommon and is mostly seen in women more than men. Here, we will inform you about the possible causes.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Acne, a common teenage problem, can make its way into your adult life. You have no choice but to groan in dismay, and seek treatment for the same. Adult acne occurs in people who are in their late 20s, 30s, 40s, or even 50s.
On the other hand, there are a number of people who get their first acne during adulthood, known as "adult-onset acne". Menopause is known to be the reason for the same. However, there are many other factors that may bring upon this dreadful skin problem on you. These are discussed as under.

Possible Causes

Acne eruptions affect women more than men. They may occur on the face, chest, and even on the back. While some lucky ones have flaunted their acne-free skin during teen years, it is devastating to see these latecomers at this stage of life. Listed here are the possible causes for their occurrence.


These are nasty dead cells consisting of the excessive oil trapped between the skin pores. They block your ducts and trap bacteria in them. When exposed to air, these plugs turn black. When these blackheads are inflamed due the bacterial growth within them, it leads to red acne.
When the pimple gets infected, it turns into a whitehead that bursts and leaves ugly scars. To prevent these, make sure to wash your face with an antibacterial face wash, at least twice a day. An occasional visit to a beauty spa for face cleaning will also help keep blackheads under control.


Yes, even adults suffer from hormonal imbalance. The ovaries release a hormone called estrogen, and the testes release the hormone androgen.
These hormones help stimulate the sebaceous glands that produce oil. Increase in oil production makes the skin oily and acne prone. High levels of the male hormone, testosterone, are the culprit behind these breakouts in men.


Women suffer from a sharp rise and drop of hormones during their menstruation cycle. Ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause are the different biological changes occurring in a woman's body, at different stages of her life.
These are controlled by hormones, and any rise or fall in their levels, leads to acne. Women using birth control pills are also prone to this problem.


Usage of excessive makeup products and cosmetics, tends to clog your skin pores.
Moisturizers, hair care products, and application of other cosmetics, often tend to form a layer on your skin. It prevents the skin from breathing and blocks the pores. This leads to inflammation and acne eruptions. You need to use less of these products and ensure to clean your face with a good cleanser every night to avoid breakouts.

Unhealthy Diet

Excessive weight gain can lead to acne eruptions, especially if you have unhealthy eating habits. Consumption of oily foods such as burgers and fries, and drinking sweetened, aerated drinks, can lead to acne.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates in the form of processed bread, pasta, sweets, etc., can increase the production of insulin in the body, which may worsen these eruptions.


Stress―whether physical or emotional―weakens your immune system and makes it very easy for bacteria to attack your skin. Also, it affects the adrenal glands that secrete more hormones, making the skin more vulnerable to acne.


Apart from birth control pills, the use of steroids, hormone replacement therapy, and medications containing lithium, iodine, and rifampin may also be among the causative factors.


Genes have a major role in acne breakouts. The type of skin you have depends on your genes. In some cases, your skin is genetically prone to this skin problem.
Treatment involves the use of ointments and creams. You should follow a healthy diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly for healthy blood circulation. Wash your face with a mild cleanser to get rid of the dirt and grime. If nothing seems to help you get rid of acne, speak to a dermatologists for more help.
Disclaimer: This is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.