Adult acne can persist through adolescence into adult years or can first appear in adults in their 30s, 40, or 50s.
t more commonly affects women than men. Red bumps, pustules, whiteheads, and blackheads can all occur. Larger acne bumps, or nodulocystic acne, can result in scarring. The most frequently affected area is the jawline. However, adult acne can also occur elsewhere on the face, neck, chest, and back.
Hormonal fluctuations, particularly of hormones known as androgens, play a key role in adult acne. As a result, women can experience adult acne flares around their menstrual cycles, during pregnancy, around menopause, and when starting or stopping birth control therapy.
Interestingly, research has shown that stress can increase androgen levels. This helps to explain why patients often note that their acne flares during stressful times. It just doesn’t seem fair that you have to deal with stress and a few bonus pimples to top it off.
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As a dermatologist, this is a common question i’m asked in the office by patients. Many people are under the impression that acne disappears once you leave those hallowed halls of high school. unfortunately, acne is a condition that can affect adults too. This is referred to as adult acne.”
Oily skin care products can contribute to adult acne by causing occlusion of pores. You can improve or prevent acne by seeking out products that are “non-comedogenic” and/or “oil-free.” These product attributes are typically listed on labeling.
Medications and underlying medical conditions can contribute to adult acne. For example, some hormonal supplements and a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause acne by increasing androgen levels. Smoking can also exacerbate acne. In addition to many other health benefits, smoking cessation can be very helpful in improving acne.
If acne persists despite the use of appropriate products, preventions, and over the counter treatment options, your local dermatologist is here to help! There are a variety of treatment options that can be tailored to each patient.
Treatment for adult acne is similar to the treatment of acne in teenagers. Topical treatment options, consisting of topical benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and antibiotics may be utilized initially. If more aggressive treatment options are necessary, oral antibiotics, spironolactone and certain oral contraceptive pills (which can both decrease androgen levels), and isotretinoin can be very effective in treating adult acne.
Adult acne can be a very troubling issue. We all have enough to deal with in our lives, even without those annoying pimples. By taking necessary measures and getting appropriate treatment, ther is hope in clearing up acne, even in adults!