Adult Acne: Understanding The Cause

December 9, 2022

An insightful article about common adult acne causes and how to get rid of adult acne

Adult acne is very common and the causes of it are related to the ones that cause acne in adolescence. But as an adult, it might bother you more than it did when you were a teenager.

In this article, we uncover the causes of adult acne and talk about things in your daily routine that may be worsening your skin’s condition. Including topics related to your family history, hormones, pregnancy, and more.

Further, how to get rid of adult acne and excellent tips to have in mind to prevent your skin from developing blackheads, whiteheads, blemishes, and spots overall.

What Causes Adult Acne?

Adult acne can be caused by various reasons such as birth control, clogged pores, inflammation, bacteria, and more. These are also typical causes of acne in adolescence. 

Adult acne can be divided into three categories:

  • Mild adult acne. Which consists of blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Moderate adult acne. Includes papules that cover your face and body.
  • Severe adult acne. Features discoloration, irritation, swelling, and deep cysts.

Other adult acne causes are related to your family history, where some people are more prone to develop acne than others, hormone imbalance or changing hormone levels (due to menstrual cycle, medication, birth control, etc) as well as hair and skin products that might be irritating your skin. 

Common Adult Acne Causes

To truly understand the cause of adult acne we must address certain things that might be causing you to develop acne after adolescence. 


Makeup is one of the most common adult acne causes if not removed properly or applied with clean brushes and dermatology-tested products.

Products that contain oils and comedogenic ingredients can worsen your adult acne and increase the chances of having breakouts. Even if you only wear sunscreen, it is crucial that you wash your face every night to get rid of the product and allow your skin to breathe.


Pregnant women are highly likely to develop adult acne due to the change in their hormones. 

Usually, the first three months of their pregnancy is the moment when adult acne tends to appear and get noticed the most.

Excess sebum

When your pores get clogged due to excess oil produced from the sebaceous glands, it gets mixed with dirt and dead skin cells, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads.

Not washing your face at least twice a day can increase the accumulation of excess oil, dirt, dead skin cells, and more, which will later cause adult acne.

How To Get Rid Of Adult Acne

There are many acne treatments that are affordable and effective that involve over-the-counter medication, but it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist first just in case you need a specific product or solution.

Acne products include creams, oral retinoids as well as low-dose birth control pills.

Apart from this, there are a few ways you can prevent adult acne that you can find below:

  • Avoid touching your face. Your skin produces oil, and if you’re constantly touching your face, you're spreading this oil and encouraging your skin to get oilier and grow bacteria.
  • Watch out for oily hair. The oils from your scalp can travel down to your face, and if you constantly touch your hair and face, you’re only making things worse. 

Try looking for quality shampoo and conditioners that are oil-free and avoid touching your face.

  • Wash your face. We can’t stress enough how important it is to wash your face at least at night to eliminate all products, bacteria, and more. The accumulation of oils (from your face and products) over a prolonged period will only make your adult acne worse. 

Adult Acne Wrap Up

In this post, we broke down adult acne and shared information about what causes acne, the most common causes of adult acne as well as how to get rid of it, and prevention tips for not worsening your breakouts.

It is recommended that before purchasing any product or engaging in over-the-counter treatment you consult a health professional just to be sure. They can recommend OTC treatments as well as prescribed ones for special cases. 

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