Why do I still have Acne?

Acne and adolescence are two inseparable components of our lives. One follows the other without any exception. According to epidemiological data, acne is considered the eighth most common skin disease in the world. It affects 50 million Americans annually. 


Now, acne is nothing but an inflammatory skin condition that arises due to hormonal changes in a person’s body, which peaks during puberty. In most cases, acne stops once the person crosses the puberty stage. But for some really unlucky ones, it continues even after they hit adulthood!


Acne caused in adults is often referred to as adult acne. According to a study in 2014, the number of people getting affected by adult acne has increased in the past two decades. Another study suggests that the majority of the population affected by adult acne are females that are around 85%


Adult acne can have varying appearances based on its severity – 


  • Adult acne in mild form can be in the form of small pustules, blackheads, and whiteheads. 
  • Moderate adult acne will be in the form of papules; it can cover one-fourth to three-fourth of the body and face. 
  • Severe adult acne is accompanied by swelling, deep cysts, extreme redness, and irritation.


Causes for adult acne

Here are the different causes of adult acne – 


This is probably the #1 reason for all adult acne. For some people, the hormones keep fluctuating even after a person becomes an adult. Excess production or constant fluctuations of hormones tend to create a lot of changes in the skin. This could lead to inflammation, excessive production of sebum oil, pH imbalance, all of which would eventually lead to adult acne.


For females, hormone fluctuations happen during phases like – 

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Menstruation
  • Postpartum period


Other common causes for adult acne include – 

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Insulin resistance


Hormonal acne is usually painful and tender; it appears cyst-like and deep and they commonly appear on the lower face

Contact Irritation

Whenever you do something that irritates the skin such as using harsh cleansers or lasers on dry skin, your skin’s existing defense mechanism is triggered. Your body starts a protective reaction to this action – this would finally lead to inflammation and cause adult acne. Using the wrong cosmetics and makeup products can clog your pores and alsontriger break outs

Emotional Stress

Emotional stress can cause several biological alterations in our body that can trigger adult acne. Here’s how that happens – an imbalance in the skin’s environment is caused when an excess of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ is produced by adrenal glands. This happens when one is feeling pressured, anxious, or scared.  

Physical Stress

Hormonal changes, inflammation, and weakened immunity can also be triggered due to physical stress, all of which contribute to the production of adult acne. Physical stress, in turn, arises from factors like:


  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Illness
  • Exposure to environmental irritants
  • Extreme weather

Clogged Pores

Blocked hair follicles are formed due to the rapid turnover of skin cells and excess oil in the skin. Acne is the result of them.


Poor hygiene is usually not a very important contributing factor for adult acne. However, acnes are formed when a bacteria called propionibacterium acnes is present in your skin. This bacteria can not be easily removed through surface cleaning as it is accumulated underneath the skin.


Certain medications that are used to treat conditions like epilepsy, corticosteroids, and antidepressants can trigger and cause adult acne. There are contraceptives with certain chemical formulations that can also cause adult acne. So be sure to consult your doctor before starting any medication if you are prone to adult acne.

Other Reasons

Studies also show that people who have migraine and allergies are more likely to have adult acne. Also, those who smoke have higher chances of getting adult acne. In fact, even air pollution is a contributing factor for adult acne.


Many people state and believe that excessive intake of sweets, fast food, white flour products, and dairy can contribute to the formation of adult acne. But adequate research is not available on this topic, and this is still unproven. 


Two ways to treat adult acne

Adult acne can be treated either at your home or at a dermatologist’s clinic, the latter being more effective and quicker to produce results. 

Home remedies

People have been treating adult acne using home remedies for a very long time now. There are multiple elements that seem to be quite effective in the treatment of adult acne. They are – 


  • Aloe vera
  • Tea tree oil
  • Vitamin A
  • Green tea extract
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc
  • Apple cider vinegar


There are creams and lotions available in the market that constitute one or more of the above elements. There are also Over-the-Counter pills that you can take to reduce the symptoms. However, it is always recommended to consult a skin specialist before starting any home remedies. A wrong choice of product can aggravate the conditions even further.

Visiting a dermatologist

When you visit a dermatologist, you are not only treated for the symptom of adult acne but also for the cause of it. Skin specialists will carefully understand the reasons for the breakout and suggest some lifestyle changes that can help your cause. 


The most effective treatment for adult acne is the chemical peel treatment. In this treatment, the outermost layer of the skin is removed. The recovery time is also quite less, ranging from a few hours to a few days. To know more about chemical peel treatment and how it can help you, click here


Wrapping Up

You can get acne even in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and sometimes even in 50s. The good news is  – you are not alone. There are millions of other people in your same age group struggling with adult acne. Luckily there are a bunch of treatments that can help get rid of acne. Some of them can be tried at home, while others are not recommended without consulting a dermatologist. 


If you are looking for the best adult acne treatment in Bengaluru, visit Dr. Renu’s clinic at HSR layout. She has treated thousands of patients with adult acne and helped them get the glowing skin that they all dreamt of. 


To book an appointment with Dr. Renu, click here.

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