Woman Looking at Face in MirrorSolving adult acne may not be completely possible but it is fairly easy to at least control it. Many of you have experienced acne in your youth and were hoping that it was over. Adult acne can be embarrassing and devastating for some, but it turns out that acne in adults is actually quite common.

Acne as a teen or as an adult is caused by a combination of things. The treatment is often based on what causes it. Acne itself may be a pimple or two every now and then or it may be a more severe case. If more conservative treatments don’t solve the problem you should talk to a dermatologist for more aggressive options.

Onset of Adult Acne

When an adult has acne, it may be a continuation of acne from adolescence or it may appear for the first time as an adult. Those who had acne in their youth may continue to have it through their 20s, 30s, 40s, and sometimes even into their 50s.

There is also such a thing called adult onset acne, as is described by Acne.org. This happens in adults who didn’t have acne in their youth. More women than men experience adult onset acne, often due to changes in hormone levels.

In fact, 50% of women experience acne as an adult, while only 25% of men do. The majority of the acne appears on the face, although around one-third of adults also experience acne on their body and back.

Causes of Adult Acne

There are multiple causes of acne in adults. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that changing hormone levels are one of the biggest causes, especially in women. Acne tends to flare up after starting or stopping birth control pills, during menstrual cycles, and during pregnancy or menopause.

Hormones are also influenced by stress. When you are stressed, more androgens are produced, which causes stimulation of your skin’s hair follicles and oil glands. This leads to pimples and other blemishes.

Acne can be genetic. If you have a close relative who has acne, you may have a higher chance of having acne as an adult.

Acne can also be a sign of a medical condition of which you are unaware. If you can’t figure out why you are experiencing breakouts, visit your doctor and have a thorough checkup.

Certain medications can also cause acne. If acne is listed as a side effect of a drug you are taking, speak with your doctor and ask if there is a different one that you can take.

Acne can be caused or irritated by certain skin and hair products. When looking for products, especially for your skin, make certain that the container says at least one of the following: oil-free, non-acnegenic, non-comedogenic, or won’t clog pores. This will keep your acne breakouts at a minimum.

Treatment for Adult Acne

There are multitudes of ways to treat adult acne. Before looking into medications or harsh creams, make sure that you practice good skin care. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and skin and wash your hair frequently if you have hairline acne.

Stay away from irritants such as acne concealers, greasy or oily cosmetics, hairstyling products, and sunscreens. Also be aware of what touches your face. Keep your hair away from your face and avoid touching it with your hands or other objects. If you do have a pimple, do not squeeze or pick at it, as this can cause scarring or infection.

If you are practicing good skin care and you are still suffering from adult acne, try some topical treatments available over the counter. Their active ingredients are usually sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or resorcinol. These are geared more towards mild acne.

For more severe acne, visit a dermatologist. They will be able to prescribe treatments, both topical and oral. Some acne cases will need a combination of both in order to heal. The topical treatments prevent clogging of the hair follicles and promote cell turnover. Antibiotics fight inflammation and reduce bacteria.

Light and laser therapies may be suggested. These get to the deep layers of your skin but do not harm the surface. Cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels may help acne. This is usually in combination with other treatments.

The Mayo Clinic lists some options if you want to treat your adult acne more naturally. Tea tree oil may work for some. Look for a gel that contains 5% of the oil and don’t use if you have acne rosacea.

Alpha hydroxyl acids help to unclog pores and improve the look of acne scars. These are natural acids that are found in different types of foods and can be applied topically. Azelaic acid is another acid that has antibacterial properties. Look for a cream that contains 20% azelaic acid.

Consider brewer’s yeast, specifically the strain called CBS 5926. Zinc supplements may also improve acne by reducing inflammation.

Keep in mind that every acne treatment comes with its own side effects. Usually they will cause skin redness, dryness, and irritation when you first start to use them, but that should decrease over time.