What Causes Adult Acne and How You Can Get Rid of It

Acne is something most people expect to leave behind once they’ve reached the privileged status of adulthood. Unfortunately, unlike those memories of high school lunches and questionable crushes, acne doesn’t always fade once you cross the timeline from teenager to grownup.

Acne can follow you right into your 20s, 30s, and beyond. Or you may not have your first acne flare-up until you’re 50. More women than men struggle with acne as adults. It may be a constant in your life or only show up on the eve of an important work conference or long-anticipated social event.

Our skincare experts at SkinMD recognize the many frustrations acne can cause, and we take it seriously. Read on to find out what our talented physicians have to say about adult acne and the effective strategies we offer for treating this fairly common problem that can affect your self-confidence.

Acne basics

Whether you’re a teen or an adult, acne is caused by naturally occurring skin oil and bacteria. When the oil-secreting glands under the surface of your skin (sebaceous glands) go into overdrive, your pores can become clogged with excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

Blackheads -- which aren’t related to dirt so stop scrubbing -- appear when your pores are only partially blocked and the oil and bacteria within darken as they are exposed to air. Whiteheads and pimples form when pores become completely blocked and the bacteria lodged in the pore thrive and multiply.

As your body’s immune system mounts a defensive response to this bacterial invasion, the result is the redness, inflammation, swelling, and discomfort you can experience with acne blemishes.

The many triggers of adult acne

Factors that can produce excess skin oil or block pores and act as the underlying trigger for acne outbreaks include:

Individuals with a family history of acne in close relatives, such as parents and siblings, are often more prone to developing adult acne. Certain medications may also trigger acne outbreaks.   

Customized treatment strategies for adult acne

Because acne triggers vary and individuals have unique skin types, the most effective treatment for troublesome acne typically requires a customized approach that addresses your skin’s health as well as your acne.

At SkinMD, we examine your skin carefully, review your medical history thoroughly, and develop a care plan that’s designed for your circumstances.

Harsh cleansers can dry out your skin and irritate acne. Heavy moisturizers can clog pores and bring on an acne breakout. We provide information regarding product lines that are formulated to keep your acne-prone skin clean, moisturized, and healthy.   

Depending on the underlying factors triggering your acne and the type you struggle with (blackheads vs. pustules or cystic lesions), we may recommend oral medications such as antibiotics, low-dose birth control pills, or androgen blockers.

Many topical ointments and creams are also effective in the fight against acne. Those prescribed by a dermatologist provide stronger and more effective medication than what’s available in over-the-counter products.

We may also recommend chemical peels and facials designed to clear acne and rejuvenate your skin.

Or we may suggest treatments with the SmoothBeam® system. This advanced, FDA-approved laser therapy alters and calms oil production by your sebaceous glands. Additionally, the gentle warmth from the laser boosts your body’s natural collagen production, which can lessen the appearance of acne scars and fine lines.

Regardless of what’s causing your adult acne, we can design customized treatment plans that help rid you of this bothersome skin condition. Schedule an evaluation at SkinMD today by calling one of our offices or using the online booking option.

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