5 Reasons why you’re Getting Adult Acne

As a teenager, acne is already frustrating enough, but when you have to deal with it as an adult, the humiliation of pimples, cysts, and blackheads often feels so much worse. Acne should be relegated to your awkward teenage years and should never appear at crucial times like your wedding day or your big presentation at work

There are many reasons adults still suffer from acne. If you’re wondering why you’re getting acne in your late 20s, 30s, 40s, and even 50s, read on to learn about the top five you reasons acne occurs in adults and how you can deal with it.

Hormone Fluctuations

Even though you’ve already gone through puberty and your hormones should be more or less stable, there are still fluctuations that occur throughout your life — especially for women. Some of the most common reasons women may experience hormone fluctuations include pregnancy, periods, perimenopause, menopause, and any changes in your birth control medication. For men, high levels of testosterone or androgens may be the cause.

To avoid acne during pregnancy, menopause, or your period, you should take a minute to look at what hormones are affecting you. During periods, for example, you’re dealing with several hormones including FSH, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Your skincare regimen should reflect which hormones are affecting you most. When dealing with luteinizing hormone especially, your skin can get very oily and sensitive, so you should stay away from oil based skincare products and aggressive skincare routines.

Skincare & Makeup Products

Often the cause of adult acne is actually your skincare and makeup products. From products that clog your pores to cleansing too much or too little, you may need to revamp what you’re doing to keep your skin clear. Look for all-natural beauty products that are labeled as:

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Oil-free
  • Non-acnegenic
  • Won’t clog pores

You can even search for products that cater to sensitive skin, as these generally use more natural botanicals and other ingredients that are less likely to cause reactions.

As for your skincare routine, while everyone is a little different, there are some basic rules you can apply across the board including:

  • Using a cleanser twice a day to remove dead cells, dirt, and environmental pollution.
  • Using a toner once a day to remove any residue the cleanser missed.
  • Exfoliating twice a week to remove dead skin cell buildup. Products with AHA are best.
  • Using moisturizer twice a day to keep your skin supple, smooth, and wrinkle free.

Adding a moisturizer with SPF to your skincare routine can also help, as there is preliminary research that shows sun exposure activates your sebaceous glands and leads to more oil production.

You can also choose to supplement your skincare routine with peels or facials once a month. These can be very beneficial to your skin, but since they aren’t absolutely necessary (and can be expensive), many people use them for pampering as opposed to skincare.


Part of the reason wedding day acne occurs is because of the high stress environment the bride is in. Any time you’re dealing with stress, you body produces androgens in response. From prepping for an important presentation to a regularly high stress work environment, your body is always reacting. There is a link between androgen production and acne, as this hormone stimulates the oil glands and hair follicles in your skin, increasing oil production and clogging your pores.

The best way to deal with stress acne is fix it before it starts. When you know a high stress time is approaching, do you best to set time aside every day for self-care. Meditate, go to the gym, or take a long bath to help yourself relax. You should also treat any spots the moment they appear with spot treatments and exfoliation — but don’t over exfoliate just because you don’t see an immediate difference. You should also be keeping a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Don’t fall into the sugar and fat trap diet and splurge on candy and chocolate to try and deal with stress!

Family History

Unfortunately, sometimes acne is simply a genetic trait you have to deal with. If others in your family struggle with acne throughout their lives, there is a high probability you will too. The only ways to work through your susceptibility to acne is to ensure your skincare routine is comprehensive, you exercise on a regular basis, and you eat a balanced diet. You can also visit a dermatologist to see if there are any long-term medications you can take. Sometimes, simply starting or stopping birth control can make a big difference in your acne.

Medications and Medical Conditions

Acne is a known side effect of medications of all kinds, so if you noticed an increase in spots since starting your meds, you may want to talk to your doctor. You may have thought your thyroid medication has nothing to do with your skin, but there are many underlying reactions you aren’t aware of.

There are other options for most medications that ensure you can switch to something that won’t be a catalyst for clogged pores or over productive sebaceous glands. If you can’t switch medications, a dermatologist can help you find a complementary skin medication you can take.

While medications can cause acne, so can medical conditions — especially if they’re undiagnosed. If you’ve experienced a noticeable shift in the way your skin reacts to skincare products, stress, or you general environment, you may be dealing with an undiagnosed medical condition. Once the condition has been treated, the acne usually clears up. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and schedule testing and analysis to confirm.

Living Clear

Living acne free is a dream many people think is impossible for them. They’ve given up on ever having reliably clear skin. If you think that one of the reasons in this blog is the cause behind your adult acne, don’t give up hope. Try the solutions for each one and see if your acne clears up. You may have to make some major changes to your lifestyle or skincare routine, but if you truly want clear, healthy skin, you have to commit to making a difference.

Author Bio:

Beverly Goldberg is a freelance writer and skincare enthusiast based in Los Angeles, CA. She loves experimenting with new products and ingredients, and frequently writes review about upcoming brands. In her free time, she enjoys gardening.