What is adult acne and how to treat it?

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Pimples as well as their heavier form – acne – are most common in puberty, when heightened male sex hormone (androgen) levels increase sebum build-up. Acne is an inflammatory disease of the hair follicles in the skin, also spreading to the sebaceous glands. Fat is trapped in the fat gland as the top layer of skin thickens and forms a comedo. The production of sebum in fat glands intensifies and pimples (which may become inflammatory) are formed due to the procreation of bacteria.

Acne is strongly related to hormonal changes in the body and the problem often naturally resolves in adulthood. What should one do, however, if the pimples do not disappear?



What is adult acne?

Although adult acne may be somewhat different from teen acne, it is still similar enough. It is not something one can outgrow, as is sometimes presumed. It can be said that adult acne is more common in women; according to different sources, one in five women suffers from the problem. However, men also have issues with adult acne.

Adult acne is hormone-dependent and breaks out or intensifies in adulthood. For example, women experience acute acne mostly before menstruation, when the progesterone levels are elevated. However, there are a few differences – while teen acne mostly breaks out on the forehead, cheeks, and nose, then adult acne mostly manifests on the lower half of the face: the chin, jawline, and neck. Red pimples develop from clogged comedos and inflammatory processes cause the development of abscesses, which may cause scarring as they burst.


In addition to the aforementioned reasons, adult acne may also be caused by the following:

  1. Stress – increases the amount of androgens stimulating the activity of sebaceous glands.
  2. Diet and lifestyle – the food we consume every day may not be nutritious or may not supply our body with all the necessary vitamins and antioxidants.
  3. Quitting birth control (pills) – oral birth control pills regulate hormonal activity. The activity of hormones may increase as one quits the pills.
  4. Medication – barbiturates, lithium, and corticosteroids are known to cause acne.
  5. Diseases – pimples may be the side effect of some diseases, such as diabetes.
  6. Menopause – strong hormonal fluctuations increase the activity of sebaceous glands, causing pimples.
  7. Skincare and cosmetic products containing oil – although you may have dry skin, oil in skincare products may not be beneficial. You should use water-based cosmetic products that moisturise without clogging pores.
  8. Genes – Does someone in your family have acne? Research indicates that it is possible to have a genetic disposition for acne.


I have pimples – how do I get rid of them?

Adult acne is more difficult to treat, as skin needs a different kind of care. Acne treatment prescribed by doctors is often meant for younger, rather oily skin. The skin of adults is drier and may already show signs of aging or be sensitive. As we age, our skin’s ability to produce collagen slows down, which causes dryness and slower regeneration of skin – this increases the risk of developing acne scars.

  1. Therefore, the most important thing to focus on is finding the right kind of skincare products for your skin type and age. To begin with, look for the word ‘aqua’ or ‘water’ in the ingredients list, as this shows that the product is water-based and also appropriate for acne-prone skin.
  2. You should also look for the word ‘non-comedogenic’ on cosmetic products, as this indicates that the product does not clog pores.
  3. Strong cleansers, tonics, and exfoliating products tend to irritate skin with acne; cell regeneration can be accelerated with products containing salicylic or glycolic acid.
  4. In addition to an inventory in your skincare products, you should also review your eating habits. Different surveys suggest that dairy products and foods containing a lot of fat and/or carbohydrates may cause inflammatory reactions, including pimples.
  5. Different sources also suggest that acne-prone skin is a sign of antioxidant deficiency. Therefore, it is recommended to drink clean water and review your diet. If your diet does not provide enough antioxidants, consider taking them as a supplement.
  6. Several topical and oral treatments are also available. These are prescribed by the family physician, dermatologist, or gynaecologist (antibiotics, hormonal treatment, retinoids), and if all other methods fail, you could consult your family physician.


Adult acne is not an insolvable problem! Adults often consider pimples inevitable and are not aware of the options for alleviating this unpleasant problem. Be it a doctor’s appointment or an inventory of one’s diet or lifestyle – there are several options that you could start trying out right now in the name of a better-looking skin and greater satisfaction.

Rosena dermacosmetics e-shop recommends: As adult acne is often related to lifestyle, stress, and hormonal fluctuations, it is recommended to treat the body with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to balance these factors. The Dermanutrix Acne Prone Skin supplement has been specially developed for problematic adult skin. The unique combination of ingredients combines niacinamide and superoxide dismutase (SOD) with vitamins and antioxidants. The active ingredients help to balance the body and decrease pimples. One special ingredient is nicotinamide, which is recommended by dermatologists around the world for pimpled skin and, according to different surveys, offers results comparable with antibiotic treatment.

Adults also benefit from a skin care regime with products that offer moisturization along with anti-acne effect. For this, try Sebionex product line. Younger persons may also try the affordable Acnecinamide range. 


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