Guide to Adult Acne

If you find that pimples are popping up in your adult years, you are not alone! Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million individuals annually.

According to Dr. Victoria Negrete, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, “While we typically think of acne as a problem associated with our teenage years, adult acne is a common problem that often goes undiagnosed.”

What causes acne and more specifically adult acne?

“What causes a pimple is pretty much the same regardless of how old you are,” added Dr. Negrete. “When you combine the skin’s oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, a pore becomes plugged and a pimple appears. Some are small and near the surface, and go away pretty quickly, where others are deeper in the skin, more painful, and tend to take a while to disappear.”

Beyond the basics of what causes acne, there are two big factors that affect your odds of getting acne at any age:

Family History: If your mom and/or dad had acne, you are very likely to develop it as well in your teens. If they suffered from acne as adults as well, your likelihood of experiencing it in adulthood also increases.
Hormones: When we talk about hormonal acne, we are mostly talking about adult females. Hormones are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle and the estrogen and progesterone fluctuations throughout the month. These fluctuations cause an increase in oil production, leading to increased breakouts. Women may also develop hormonal breakouts during menopause when hormones drop.

What can I do to prevent adult acne?

While genetics and hormones are contributing factors of acne, there are other factors at play – most of which are preventable. Using cosmetics that are not oil-free may clog pores. Friction caused by a hat, tight-fitting clothing, backpacks or even constant touching of your skin, can also worsen acne. If you’re an adult dealing with acne, chances are your dry skin may be an underlying cause. As we age, our skin loses the ability to retain moisture, causing dry skin which ultimately can lead to clogged pores – a true domino effect. Diet also plays a role in acne breakouts. To help prevent future acne breakouts, try to reduce or eliminate dairy and high glycemic foods while focusing more on fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Lastly, regardless of your age, if you are picking or squeezing blemishes, you need to stop. Popping pimples increases inflammation often leading to more breakouts, lingering discoloration, and acne scarring

What treatments are available for adult acne?
There are a number of possible treatments for adult acne, from topical treatments, a proper skin care regimen to various pill therapies, depending on the type of acne you have and the severity of your condition. “I like to sit down with my patients to gain a thorough understanding of how their acne is impacting their lives,” noted Dr. Negrete. “In addition, determining what type of acne they are dealing with helps me to collaborate with them to develop the most appropriate treatment plan.”

Skin Struggles?
At Forefront Dermatology, we know that life is all about the moments when you don’t need us. That’s why we’re here for all the moments when you do. We offer comprehensive and compassionate care for all skin conditions and create customized treatment plans for all stages and ages – even the tiniest of patients! Find a location near you today.