I'm Not a Teenager: How Am I Still Getting Acne?

Woman putting makeup on over acne I'm Not a Teenager: How Am I Still Getting Acne?

You might look back at your blemish-ridden teenage years and cringe. But what happens when your acne returns a decade or more later? Adult acne can be embarrassing and frustrating, often lingering for years. Fortunately, you can address your acne with a visit to the dermatologist and a series of cosmetic treatments.

What to Know About Adult Acne

Causes of Adult Acne

While most people associate acne with puberty and adolescence, this skin issue can appear at any age. Dermatologists consider “adult acne” to be acne after age 25. Acne most commonly occurs when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria can also accumulate in the follicles, causing inflammation and blemishes.

The cause of adult acne isn’t always clear. However, there are a few factors that may contribute.

  • Genetics: You may be more likely to develop adult acne if one or more of your close relatives dealt with adult acne as well.

  • Hormones: Hormone fluctuations and imbalances can contribute to acne as well. These imbalances may occur during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and when using or discontinuing a hormonal birth control method.

  • Stress: Stress hormones can cause the skin to create more oil, which can lead to breakouts. This is why some people may experience more acne breakouts when they’re stressed.

  • Cosmetics: Some hair care products and makeup may clog the pores and cause acne. Comedogenic skincare products are another possible cause of clogged pores.

  • Diet: Evidence suggests that diets high in refined carbohydrates can trigger acne breakouts.

When you see your dermatologist for your acne, they will likely ask you questions about your health and lifestyle. It can be tricky to pinpoint the cause of acne, but those factors may provide clues.

How to Clear Acne at Any Age

Adult acne can be stubborn, but you don’t have to live with it indefinitely. There are several cosmetic dermatology treatments available for acne. Your dermatologist may recommend adult acne treatment, such as:

  • At-Home Care: Your dermatologist can help you develop a skincare routine to manage your acne. This should include non-comedogenic skin products, as well as acne-fighting products like salicylic acne and benzoyl peroxide. Dermatologists can also prescribe topical acne medications like retinoids and antibiotics to reduce acne.

  • Laser Therapy: Dermatologists often recommend laser treatment for acne and acne scars. Lasers can eliminate bacteria and inflammation within the skin, while also boosting skin resurfacing.

  • Chemical Peels: During a chemical peel, your dermatologist will apply an exfoliating solution to the skin. This solution causes the outer layer of the skin to shed and reveal smoother skin underneath. Severe cases of acne may require a deeper peel.

  • Microdermabrasion: Another popular treatment for acne, microdermabrasion involves using a small tool to spay or rub crystals onto the skin. This removes the outer layer of skin and improves the complexion. Microdermabrasion can also prep the skin for other acne treatments.

  • Clinical Facials: Dermatologists perform clinical facials to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. During the facial, your dermatologist or medical esthetician will remove congestion from the pores as well.

Most clients will require multiple acne treatments to clean their complexion. Dermatologists may also recommend layering treatments to improve results. Just be sure to stick to your treatment schedule and follow an at-home skincare regimen.


Frustrated with adult acne? The skin experts at Pacific Dermatology Specialists can help. With locations in Redondo Beach, CA, and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, our team offers a number of in-office acne treatments. We also provide medical and surgical dermatology services to address a variety of skin conditions. Contact us today to discuss your skin needs.

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