Adult acne – it is a problem. Although we typically don’t like to talk about it, it is an affliction that affects 40-55% of adults between the ages of 20-40.  While it is something that is commonly attributed to blossoming teenagers, in truth, very few of us are blessed with perfect skin.  What causes acne in adults?  The answer is somewhat complicated, and varied from person to person. 

First, let’s ask what acne actually is.  It is considered a disease that effects the skins oil glands.  Connected to each of your pores is a gland, and part of its responsibility is to carry dead skin cells to the surface to be sloughed away.  To do this, the gland produces an oil called sebum.  These pores and glands are also associated with follicles, where thin hairs can grow up and out.  When the follicle gets clogged, a pimple forms.  Now, when a pimple forms, depending on what is going on, several different outcomes can occur.  If bacteria are trapped within the clogged follicle you get pus and inflammation.  There are a number of different types of pimples which help to define the type of acne one is suffering from.  If you want to be specific about diagnosing your acne, be sure to visit your dermatologist.  Moral of the story, though – acne is not fun.

Adult acne can stem from a few fundamental causes. More often acne occurs in women, as a result of imbalances in hormone fluctuations.  Ladies, we all know there are certain times of the month which are better or worse for our skin.  What can affect everyone, however, is stress.  The stress hormone cortisol is one that has a relationship with the glands.  Although the exact mechanism is unknown, studies have shown an increase in acne inflammation during times of stress. 

So, what does this mean?  Chill out?  If only it were that simple.  If you suffer from adult acne, chances are you have tried a few things, if not many things, to try and clear up your skin.  Adult acne is not just embarrassing, but at times it can also be painful.  We try to cover it up with makeup or expensive drug store solutions, but sometimes these solutions make the problem even worse.  As your life changes and therefore hormones change, it is hard to keep up with a permanent solution. 

Washing your face with a gentle cleanser, avoiding comedogenic products*, and doing things to better your mentality (having a good sleep routine, for instance) are great places to start.  Laser therapy is vastly becoming popular in this realm as well.  Treatments like Intense Pulse Laser (IPL) are effective at disrupting clogs in your pores and removing the unwanted material. 

If this is something that is truly bothering you, consider a visit to your doctor or dermatologist.   And don’t stress, there is a solution out there for you!

*Products like lotions or makeup that clog the pores.  Check your labels for “non-comedogenic” to see if you are in the clear.