ADULT ACNE: 5 REASONS YOU MIGHT HAVE IT (SOME MIGHT SURPRISE YOU!)
Acne isn’t just a problem of teenage years. Unfortunately, it can rear its ugly (white)head at any age. Adult acne, or adult-onset acne, is when it occurs over the age of 25. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, women tend to have a higher prevalence and incidence of adult acne than men. It’s estimated that 50 percent of women ages 20 to 29 have acne. It affects about 25 percent of women ages 40 to 49. (1)
Trying to figure out what causes acne can be challenging and there often isn’t not one simple answer. Treatment that worked for you in your teen years might not work for you as an adult.
What is Acne?
Causes of Adult Acne
Inflammation-causing acne can be caused by diet, hormones, menopausal skin changes, medication, stress, products (makeup, hair, skin) and environmental factors. Regardless, there is usually one or more triggers that might surprise you.
As estrogen declines in midlife, so do collagen and elastin, meaning your skin may become thinner, drier, and looser than before. Hence, wrinkles. But estrogen decline also takes with it our skin’s ability to ward off acne, sometimes leading to acne during and even after menopause. (2)
Some surprising reasons you might still be battling breakouts:
1. Your cleansing routine might need a tweak
How often do you wash your face? What type of cleanser do you use? What is the temperature of the water you use to wash your face? These are some important questions you might want to ask yourself if you are experiencing acne and not sure why.
- It is important to cleanse your face every day; however, dermatologists do not suggest doing it more than twice a day, generally morning and at bedtime.
- Try to look for cleansers that are mild and won’t strip skin’s natural barrier.
- Use warm or cool water
- Don’t use harsh cleansing brushes.
- Pat face dry instead of rubbing harshly with a towel.
2. You Don’t Use Moisturizer
Did you know that you can get more breakouts by not using a moisturizer? We get it, when your face feels greasy or oily the last thing you want to do it lather on a moisturizer. However, by skipping this step, skin becomes dehydrated and responds by overcompensating and over-producing sebum.
Regular moisturizing hydrates skin, helping to calm down skin inflammation. Look for a lightweight moisturizer that is built for acne-prone skin.
Exfoliation is a must for great skin. However, you can get too much of a good thing. This includes using peels, scrubs, gritty cleansers, AHAs. If you are suffering from breakouts, over-exfoliation could be the reason. Over-exfoliation can create a lot of skin concerns.
It can be tempting to scrub away at the top layer of skin when those pesky zits pop up. However, it can end up angering skin by increasing the inflammation and stripping your skin barrier.
In addition to acne, here are some other signs of over-exfoliation:
- Dryness and flakiness
- Increased oil production and shine
- Irritated skin
Don’t Piss off your Skin
Are you over-exfoliating? Give skin a break. Stay away from exfoliating skin for a week or more. Look for products that contain ingredients that are going to hydrate and repair skin’s barrier, such as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides.
Building up a sweat is great for your health and overall skin health. Unfortunately, sometimes it can also lead to post-workout breakouts. Oil, bacteria and dirt can build up and pores can get clogged.
- Make sure you remove your makeup before your workout, pull hair off your face, and try to not touch your face during your workout.
- Try to change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you can and clean your face after your sweat session. Shower is the best if possible.
5. Not Removing Makeup at Bedtime
You’re sooo tired. Is it really that bad to go to bed without washing the makeup off your face? Um… YES! Not removing your makeup can have cumulative negative effects on skin health.
Makeup residue, especially oil-based, can clog pores and cause bumps on skin. The more nights you do this, the more clogged the pores will become, attracting bacteria that cause blemishes.
Your skin rejuvenates itself while you sleep and if you leave your makeup on, it is going to inhibit this natural process. Who wants acne and wrinkles?
“Makeup can trap dirt and environmental pollutants inside the skin, and this type of environmental stress can result in increased free radicals which can cause DNA mutations, collagen degradation, and, over time, can result in premature aging.” – Dr. Wee, Byrdie
(2) Dealing with menopause acne: Is it prom night again? Perry, Gennev
(4) Adult Acne. Why it happens and what you can do for it. The American Academy of Dermatology Association
(5) What is Acne? The American Academy of Dermatology Association
(6) Acne. National Institutes of Health
(7) Adult-onset acne: prevalence, impact, and management challenges. Rocha, Bagatin, NCBI
(8) Adult Acne in Women: What’s Triggering Your Breakouts. Giddens, Houston Methodist Leading Medicine.
(9) How to Find a Moisturizer That Won’t Make Your Acne-Prone Skin Worse, Diaz, The Klog