Adult Acne: Common, Not Your Fault, and Treatable

Having acne as an adult can be frustrating and embarrassing. Many people think acne is just a teenage issue, but adult acne is very common – affecting up to 15% of women. If you’re dealing with pimples, blackheads, or cystic acne past your 20s, you’re not alone.

What is Adult Acne?

Adult acne refers to the pimples, cysts, blackheads, and other blemishes that can unexpectedly occur in grown-ups, even those who never had acne as teenagers. While it looks similar to adolescent acne, adult acne blemishes often manifest as deeper bumps, cystic breakouts, and nodules that can be more difficult to treat.

Common presentations include:

  • Whiteheads and blackheads on the face, back, chest, and shoulders
  • Deep, inflamed pimples and cysts
  • Red bumps and postules
  • Solid, painful nodules under the skin
  • Buildup of oil/debris leading to blemishes

Adult acne typically requires different treatment approaches than teen acne since more aggressive products can be too drying or irritating for mature skin. With proper skincare and treatment, these frustrating breakouts can be managed.

Adult Acne Has Nothing to Do with Being “Dirty”

There’s a myth that acne is caused by poor hygiene or not washing your face enough. However, that’s simply not true. Adult acne, like teenage acne, happens when pores get clogged by oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It has nothing to do with how clean you are.

Common Triggers

While you can’t control hormones or genetics that make you prone to acne, these common triggers can aggravate breakouts:

  • Stress: High levels of stress lead to hormone imbalances that increase oil production.
  • Lack of Sleep: Not getting enough quality sleep throws off your body’s normal cycles.
  • Poor Diet: Eating lots of processed foods, dairy, and foods high in refined carbs/sugars can worsen acne.

Treating Adult Acne Without Harsh Ingredients

Many over-the-counter acne products contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. While effective, they can irritate and over-dry mature skin.

The good news? More gentle treatment options like bakuchiol, moth-bean extract, or mandelic acid can treat adult acne without as much irritation. Be sure to also use a non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate skin.

Don’t give up if your skin seems stubborn – talk to the Acne Specialists at Providence Acne Clinic for treatments or products designed for your specific type of acne. With some lifestyle adjustments and the right treatment plan, you can get clearer skin.

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