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a close-up picture of a woman showing her adult acne on the face
All Photos: ShotPot

Acne can cause serious damage to your self-esteem and even make you feel isolated when you are a young teenager. During this period of your life, you dream of growing up and having perfectly smooth skin with no blemishes and zits, only coming to the conclusion that it does not always happen as you wish. Acne won't disappear magically when you jump off your teenage carriage. Acne is a permanent condition of skin for up to 22% of women, and 3% of men. A state that continues to remind itself throughout the majority of adult life.


What is the Actual Difference Between Teenage Acne & Adult Acne?


Simply saying, adult acne is a skin condition when the hair follicle under the skin is getting clogged by sebum and becomes inflamed. It is the same acne that occurs in teenagers but affects people older than 18 years. Just like teenagers, adult acne is commonly characterized by inflamed, painful pimples and bumps, filled with pus. The condition tends to affect the lower half of the face, cheeks, and cheekbones.

Due to the severity of the process, skin scarring, called post-acne, often follows after the cyst is gone. Post-acne scars may be connected with physiological side-effects of acne conditions. That's why it is recommended to treat the acne scarring after the inflammatory process is stopped. Still, it is often a long-lasting and difficult treatment.

What are the Psychological Effects of Adult Acne?


Some studies show that adult acne is directly linked to anxiety and depression disorders in adults. Skin imperfections, blemishes, and scarring can negatively affect self-image and may impair social life. Self-isolation and low self-esteem have a major impact on mental well-being in adults. A wave of anger, followed by hopelessness and frustration further intensifies the feeling of anxiety. 

a close-up picture of a woman showing her adult acne on the face

What are the 5 Main Causes of Acne in Adults?


Of course, many different reasons cause adult acne. It is important to understand what triggers your acne to find the best possible acne treatment for your condition. Here are the 5 most common causes of acne.

#1. Hormonal Disbalance

The number one reason and the most common reason that causes acne is hormonal fluctuations. For example, most women experience facial breakouts in the second half of the menstrual cycle. The skin inflammations often calm down when menstruation starts. This skin condition is caused by the hormonal changes in a woman's body. Adult hormonal acne may be connected with weight gain, the high levels of cortisol, and usually, is more difficult to treat. 

#2. Stressful Lifestyle

We are slowly approaching the second common cause of adult acne also known as stress. High levels of stress is always linked to low immunity in adults, which is directly affecting the inflammatory process in the body. Stress-relieving activities, such as outdoor exercise, family time, naps, and meal preparation may help you to put your stress levels under control. Thorough skincare may help you to battle your acne topically, but the balance between your body and mind will provide a much more long-lasting solution to this skin concern.

#3. Unhealthy Diet

Thankfully, no scientists have ever proven a link between adult acne and chocolate. So, you can still enjoy a few pieces of black chocolate per day. However, it might be time to stay away from dairy. More specifically,  low-fat dairy products may provoke inflammatory issues, spiking the levels of insulin in the blood. A well-balanced diet, as always, is a way out of this situation. 

a close-up picture of the couple with acne and acne scarring

#4. Facial Hair Removal

We all want to have smooth, hair-free skin, but instead, we get painful ingrown hair and inflamed follicles. To avoid these issues, try substituting your razor and waxing strip strips with less invasive hair removing methods like intense pulse light or laser treatment. These methods are costly, but they don't promote the hair ingrowth process. If shaving and waxing are your favorite methods, then don't forget to use an aftershave with Salicylic or Glycolic acid.

#5. Hair Care Products

I know it is the last thing you'll consider when it comes to understanding the adult acne causes. But, if your skin tends to break out on your forehead, along the hairline, around your cheeks and jawline, it might be your hair care products. Some of the ingredients in hair products may be the reason for clogged pores, as they are designed for your hair, not your skin. Artificial fragrances, often found in hair care products, can promote allergies and skin irritations. To minimize the impact on your acne-prone skin try preventing your hair and products from falling on your face. Also, invest in high-quality hair care products, made from natural ingredients with the least amount of harmful chemicals possible.


You are Not Alone in Your Adult Acne Battle


The takeaway of the story would be simple — you are not alone! Seek support on the forums and social media groups, where people discuss their adult acne battles. You will be surprised how many people go through the same period as you. Another major piece of advice — don't concentrate on your pimples. Most of the people around you don't notice skin imperfection, especially once they learn to know you. Stay positive, treat your skin with love, and the first changes will follow promptly.

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