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What Triggers Acne in Adults? 10 Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

10 causes of acne in adults

What triggers acne in adults
Learn the ten most prevalent causes and triggers of acne in adults, which include hormonal changes, skin products, medications, and stress.

The ten most prevalent causes of acne in adults include:

  1. Hormonal changes: Acne can be exacerbated by hormonal changes associated with estrogen and progesterone. This implies that women who are pregnant or going through menopause may get breakouts more frequently than others. Acne can occur when a person begins or discontinues birth control.
  2. Family history: The majority of acne instances are inherited. As a result, if one of your close relatives or family members has acne, you are more likely to develop it. This can occur whether you have acne as an adult or as a teen. Even when no other triggers are present, heredity explains why some people continue to have acne outbreaks.
  3. Skin or hair products: Not all skincare and hair care products are made equal. Individuals should study the label on their skincare products and seek phrases such as “oil-free.” This is crucial because you don't want them to block pores or encourage oil production. Hair products, such as conditioners, can cause oily skin if they are not thoroughly rinsed in the shower.
  4. Underlying medical conditions: Acne may be caused by an undiscovered medical issue in a tiny percentage of people. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that frequently underpins severe or difficult-to-control acne in women. To further uncover underlying problems, a dermatologist will conduct a thorough history and an exam, which may include a blood test.
  5. Medications: Acne is a side effect of certain drugs that can either create or worsen the condition. A dermatologist can tell you if your drugs are causing or contributing to breakouts. A few, common variables include steroid inhalers, birth control, and testosterone.
  6. Bacteria: Although avoiding touching your face reduces contact discomfort, bacteria can accumulate beneath the skin and be inaccessible to surface cleaners. Propionibacterium, a bothersome bacterium, may be to blame for the inflammatory component of acne in adults.
  7. Stress: Studies have reported that acne and stress are linked. Stress can be both physical and emotional stress. Physical stress is caused by external stressors such as pollution, extreme weather, illness, dehydration, and lack of sleep. When you are stressed emotionally, the amount of acne-causing hormones known as androgens increases, increasing oil glands and hair follicles, both of which lead to acne.
  8. Food: Diet may either regulate or upset your hormone balances. Furthermore, some data show that eating nutritious, well-balanced meals might help you avoid or prevent acne flare-ups. By contrast, heavily salted foods, dairy products, saturated fats, and refined sweets can induce inflammation and block pores.
  9. Makeup: Cosmetics, such as foundation and blush, might make your skin more sensitive and prone to acne. When makeup isn't thoroughly removed at the end of the day, it combines with our natural oils and causes blocked pores. Use light makeup and wash your face at the start and end of each day for clear skin.
  10. Lifestyle habits: Some behaviors may appear little, yet they have a significant influence on the skin. Acne flare-ups may be exacerbated by smoking and alcohol consumption. You are placed in danger by poor sleeping habits and frequent stress. You should instead engage in a healthy lifestyle with beneficial habits, such as regular food and exercise.

What is acne?

Acne is defined by pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and tiny cysts in the skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most prevalent skin disorder in the United States, and the number of people with the condition is increasing. It is the ninth most frequent skin illness in the world.

Acne is a common chronic inflammatory skin disorder in which the pilosebaceous unit is involved—hair follicles and oil glands. Spots occur on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back in a variety of locations:

  • Spots, pimples, and zits are frequent names for inflamed papules and pustules.
  • Comedones are dark or skin-colored papules. These are most commonly recognized as blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Acne can cause scarring and secondary skin color changes (red, white, and brown spots).

Acne vulgaris is the most prevalent type of acne.

At what age is acne most common?

Acne is more common in teenagers aged 16 to 18 years. It has the potential to have severe social and psychological consequences, especially throughout puberty and adolescence.

Acne is inconvenient at any age, but it may be more unpleasant for adults. Unfortunately, acne may appear long into your 30s, 40s, and 50s. It is possible to be acne-free as a teen yet acquire acne later in life.


Acne is the result of an allergy.
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What are the treatment options for acne in adults?

If your acne persists after utilizing home remedies, you must consult a dermatologist for effective treatment. A dermatologist will frequently use two or more treatments, such as the following:

  • Oral antibiotics:
    • Antibiotics are occasionally used to treat acne that has spread to a large area of the skin. They reduce inflammation and bacteria, both of which can cause acne to flare up. However, specialists warn against using antibiotics for lengthy periods, so they may only give a short-term remedy.
    • Erythromycin, tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline are some of the most commonly given oral antibiotics for acne.
  • Topical retinoids:
    • Topical retinoids are produced from vitamin A although they are less potent. These gels, creams, and lotions help with acne by reducing inflammation. For greater outcomes, a dermatologist may mix topical therapies with topical antibiotics.
    • Topical retinoids such as adapalene, tretinoin, or tazarotene are frequently used to treat acne. Skin redness or peeling and increased sun sensitivity are possible side effects.
  • Isotretinoin:
    • Isotretinoin is a powerful prescription acne medicine. According to a 2009 study, 85 percent of participants had their acne heal up after taking this vitamin A derivative regularly for 16 weeks.
    • However, the use of isotretinoin is highly debatable. This medicine comes with several dangerous side effects and is known to interact with other medications. Here are a few examples of possible outcomes:
  • Spironolactone:
    • Although spironolactone is commonly used to treat excessive blood pressure and edema, it acts as an acne therapy by lowering testosterone levels, which can lead to acne. In women, it is used to treat cystic acne on the lower face and jawline.
    • Most of these prescription drugs show interactions with other prescription drugs, so they must be used after discussion with your dermatologist. Some medications are known to pose a potential threat to developing fetuses and cause birth defects. Such drugs are to be avoided during pregnancy.

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