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I'm an Adult — Why Do I Still Have Acne?

I'm an Adult — Why Do I Still Have Acne?

Acne vulgaris is a skin disease that plagues the young, but it doesn’t discriminate by age. Acne peaks in females ages 14-17 and boys 16-19. After that, you may get a break. But acne can come back — or occur for the first time — even after age 25.

In fact, about 50% of women and 40% of men ages 20-29 still have acne outbreaks. At age 50 or older, more than 15% of women are still breaking out, compared with 7% of men. 

Adolescent acne is almost always caused by the hormonal havoc of puberty. As a teenager produces more and more testosterone and other sex hormones, their skin secretes extra oils that clog their follicles (i.e., pores), creating the bumps and cysts of acne. 

Hormones are often at work in adult acne, too. However, other factors may be involved. 

At The Center for Dermatology Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York, our expert dermatologists treat acne in teens and adults. We offer cutting-edge therapies and advice on how to make lifestyle changes that improve your skin’s health.

Do you have acne as an adult and aren’t sure why? The following are common reasons women and men get the double whammy of aging skin and acne.

It’s friction

A type of acne common among adults is acne mechanica, when something persistently rubs against the skin, causing irritation. Often, the friction occurs in the presence of moisture, such as sweat. Dirt from clothing or bacteria in your sweat also contribute to acne lesions.

Common causes of acne mechanica include:

Cleaning equipment or clothing daily can help cut down on the bacteria that play a role in clogging and inflaming your follicles. Make sure your clothing and equipment fit. Also, moisturize your skin with a noncomedogenic product before wearing the equipment, mask, or hat.

It’s your hormones

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or going through perimenopause or menopause are susceptible to acne breakouts due to higher levels of testosterone compared to their other hormones.

Women are also more likely to break out just before their periods or while they’re pregnant.

Men, too, may experience hormone-related acne. Surges of testosterone — especially when triggered by steroids — can cause breakouts.

It’s your skin care

Unfortunately, the products you buy to care for your skin may trigger acne flares. Fragrances, colorings, and other chemicals may irritate your skin or clog your pores, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and more.

Whether you’re shopping for cleansers, moisturizers, or a reliable sunscreen, look for fragrance- and color-free products. Also, choose those with “noncomedogenic” on the label.

We recommend medical-grade skin care formulated for your skin type for the best, least irritating results.

It’s your medicine

In addition to steroids, other drugs can trigger acne breakouts. At your consultation, we go over the list of medications you use to determine if any contribute to your skin woes.

If so, we may recommend changing your medications or working with your provider to alter the dose. Both lithium and anti-seizure drugs tend to trigger acne. 

How we help your skin look ‘grown up’

If you're ready to trade in your acne for clear, vibrant skin — at any age — we can help. Options to clear up adult or teen acne include: 

As an added bonus, many of these remedies also battle other scourges of adulthood, such as sagging, spotted, or wrinkled skin.

If you’re ready to bid goodbye to acne for good, contact our helpful team by phone or online form today. 

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