Adult acne: What is it and how to deal with it

1. What is adult acne?

Adult acne are breakouts that occur due to hormonal fluctuations in the skin. This might be due to the oral contraceptive diet, a change in diet or skincare or due to another medication condition. Whenever the male hormone testosterone (yes females have testosterone too!) spikes, the sebum or oil produced in the oil glands becomes a little more sluggish. This leads to the oil getting clogged the pores and acne breakouts.

2. What are some of the main causes of adult acne in women?

The most common trigger is an imbalance in the testosterone levels (triggered by the oral contraceptive pill) or other hormonal changes. Another thing to look out for is using oils that are too thick for the skin. A really typical oil that triggers acne is Coconut oil. This was trending heavily last year, but hopefully everyone knows that “coconut oil is so 2019”. If you are an oil lover, use almond oil or Jojoba oil instead. They both rate much better because their oil is thinner and less likely to block the pores.

Photo by cottonbro on

3. How is adult acne different to teenage acne?

Teenage acne is triggered by three main things: Hormones, poor skin cleaning and the bacteria P. Acnes. Teenagers hormones are literally all over the place. The spikes in testosterone are big drivers for the acne build up, but combine that with a bit of laziness in skin cleaning, and you have a recipe for disaster.

4. How can you prevent it?

Talk to you medical doctor if you are taking the pill. Perhaps you can look at another brand that might hit the right spot with your hormones, as it is all about getting the oestrogen/testosterone levels just right.Also consider having some professional treatments like chemical peels to help reduce the oil and dead skin cell build up that blocks the pores.Finally using a blue LED light in the clinic or at home (if you can afford one) if perfect for acne. Blue light helps to reduce the number of P. acnes bacteria (the little suckers that create this mess). 

5. What kind of skincare products should someone struggling with adult acne use?

Photo by cottonbro on

Acne is controlled by using a good cleanser. I generally recommend using a cleanser that has BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). Beta hydroxy acids can also be called Salicyclic acid. This is great at dissolving oil, so it really gets in the pores of the skin and flushes them out. On the other hand, AHAs or lactic acid or glycolic acid are perfect for flushing away superficial dead skin cells that might eventually block the pores.Using spot treatments of salicylic acid can also help to zap away the zits.Retinol (vitamin a) is really effective at reducing dead skin cell build up too, and helps to unpack the skin stuck in the pores.Also look at the ingredients of your moisturiser – there are so many oil-free moisturisers on the market these days.

6. What are some other effective treatment options?

Treatments that I love are skin needling. P. Acnes loves to live in the pores because they don’t have much oxygen. If you have skin needling treatment, it breaks up their home by flooding the pores with oxygen. Aside from this there are a number of BHA based peels. A traditional peel is a Jessner. This is perfect for acne.There are some prescription medications that your dermatologist can prescribe too. A typical one is called Roaccutane, but this is hard-core! Your skin will be completely oil free and super dry. So definitely something you need to talk to your Dermatologist about.

7. Anything you would like to add?

Look at your hair products. If you experience acne/breakouts around the hairline, it might be your shampoo or leave-in hair products that are too blame. Often they contain waxes that literally plug the pores.

This article was originally published in Mamamia Beauty. Read it here

Thanks for reading!

Written by Giulia D’Anna

BDSc (Melb), MRACDS, Honorary FIADFE (NY), Graduate Diploma Dermal Therapies (AACDS), Cert. Practice Man (UNE), Editor APJ (APAN) + | + 3 Belmore Road, Balwyn North, Victoria, Australia 3104 + | + Founder of iDental and Dermal Distinction

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.