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Adult Acne? Causes, Treatments & Prevention

If you're thinking,

"I'm an adult, so why am I still getting acne? When will it stop?" or "I've never had to deal with acne as a teenager - Now I'm experiencing breakouts and blemishes. What's going on with my skin?"

Here are a few things you should know about acne and what you can do about it:

The Difference Between Adult Acne & Teenage Acne:

For many, it comes as a surprise to learn that adult acne is actually different than preteen or teenage acne. During puberty, teens commonly experience acne on the upper half of the face while adults will find that breakouts appear on the lower half of their face. Adult acne is often deeper and cystic, which feels hard to the touch and cannot be 'popped' or drained.

What causes breakouts in adults?

Heightened stress, hormonal fluctuations or elevated Testosterone levels, certain medications, environmental factors, skin care products and residual make-up are the most common reasons for adults experiencing breakouts and blemishes.

Hormones: Women often notice cystic acne appearing around the time of their menses. An excess of androgens not only causes acne, but it can also stimulate unwanted hair growth (commonly found on the face, lip, chin and neck).

Medications: Certain drugs like corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids and medications that contain bromides or iodides, can cause acne or acne-like eruptions.

Make Up & Skin Care Products: When shopping for skin care products, check the label; it's important to look for the word "non-comedogenic", meaning it will not congest pores or generate acne. It's also good to know what ingredients to look out for. Sometimes, the product label will say "non-comedogenic" but the ingredients do not match up. Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol and Mineral Oil are among the many. Some ingredients may even sound natural and beneficial, like certain oils: (almond, avocado, apricot, beeswax and coconut). For a complete list of comedogenic ingredients, click here.

Environmental Factors: If you work outdoors or your work environment involves sweating, dirt, debris and bacteria can easily find their way into your pores. Keeping cleansing cloths or Witch Hazel and some cotton pads handy throughout the day helps to minimize breakouts.

Keeping Acne Under Control