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5 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne and What You Can Do About It

If you’re affected by adult acne, you’re not alone. About 50% of American adults endure the challenges of bumpy skin well past their teenage years. If this describes you, you’re probably wondering what’s causing your acne and what you can do to make it a thing of the past.

At Orange Coast Dermatology, our team of experienced skin care providers understands the frustration and embarrassment adult acne can bring. From our offices in Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita, California, we offer personalized treatment plans customized to blast away acne and help you enjoy a clear and healthy complexion.

We also believe in the power of patient education, so we’ve curated this informative guide to help you understand five surprising causes of adult acne and what you can do about it. Read on to learn more!

What causes adult acne?

Acne typically results when you have blocked oil (sebaceous) glands and a buildup of a waxy substance called sebum along with debris, such as dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt, on the surface of your skin. Together, these things clog your pores and cause acne.

While this may be the cause of acne, it’s what triggers a breakout that concerns most adults. There are many different types of triggers that can lead to acne. Here are five surprising causes of acne in adults:

1. Hormones

You knew that the fluctuating hormones of puberty caused teenage pimples, but did you know that changes in hormone levels can trigger adult acne as well? Women are especially vulnerable to hormonally induced adult acne because of pregnancy, menopause, birth control, and menstruation. 

2. Soaps and skin care products

Skin and hair products can help clear your skin … or make things worse! If you’re not using the right type of products for your skin, you can actually trigger breakouts. For example, some soaps strip oils from your skin, which can increase your body’s oil production and clog your pores.

3. Prescription medications

You take prescription medications to keep you healthy, but certain medications may have a negative impact on your skin. For example, products that contain corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, and lithium can trigger breakouts. 

4. The food you eat

Your diet and the foods you eat can trigger inflammation throughout your body — including your skin. Avoiding foods that increase inflammation and the production of sebum, such as dairy products and foods high on the glycemic index, may help improve your skin. 

5. Stressing out

The relationship between stress and acne is clear: the more stressed you are, the more likely you’ll experience breakouts. That’s because your body produces androgen hormones as a response to stress, and an increase in these hormones may trigger the conditions that lead to acne. 

Are there treatments for my adult acne?

Yes! You don’t have to suffer from acne-covered skin any longer. The team at Orange Coast Dermatology evaluates your medical history and conducts a thorough skin exam to accurately diagnose the type of acne you have.

Your provider asks you about your current skin care routine as well as other lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your adult acne. Our specialists then customize an acne treatment plan that will clear up your skin.

While each person’s treatment plan is tailored to meet their needs, here are some of the most common treatments we incorporate into our care plans:

Improved skin hygiene

Your Orange Coast Dermatology provider evaluates your skin care routine and makes recommendations on how to improve your skin hygiene so you can enjoy clearer skin. Recommendations may include increasing the number of times you wash your face and changing the types of products you use. 

Oral and topical medications and treatments

There are several different types of oral and topical medications and therapies that can help resolve adult acne. Oral or topical antibiotics help reduce the bacteria on your skin, reducing infections in your pores and clearing your complexion. Other possible therapies include topical salicylic acid and medicinal gels to help control breakouts. 

Aesthetic treatments

Chemical peels and laser treatments designed specifically for acne control can make a dramatic improvement to your complexion. Other aesthetic treatments, like extractions and light therapy, can help clear away whiteheads and blackheads, leaving you with smoother skin. 

Medications for hard-to-treat acne

Some types of acne are difficult to treat and don’t respond well to more conservative treatments. In these cases, your provider may recommend an oral medication called isotretinoin that uses derivatives of vitamin A to shrink your oil glands and help keep acne at bay. 

]If you’re suffering from adult acne, the team at Orange Coast Dermatology can help. Call the office most convenient for you to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today. We also offer telehealth appointments so you can meet with us from the comfort of your own home.

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