• Skin Guru

Causes of Adult Acne & How to Manage It

At any age, experiencing acne is annoying at best and downright traumatic at worst. Adults who struggle with adult acne can be particularly embarrassed by a condition typically associated with teenagers. However, research tells us that adult acne is quite common and actually on the rise over the last couple decades. One study found that 85% of females and 15% of males have adult acne. 


Common Causes of Adult Acne:

There are many factors that contribute to adult acne. Let's take a look at the top causes:

  • Genetics. Thanks, mom and dad. Unfortunately, we don't get to pick our genes, and sometimes, family lines are more predisposed to acne than others. Fortunately, we can still manage genetic adult acne with proper lifestyle adjustments and a strong skincare routine (as detailed below). 

  • Hormones. Changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can aggravate acne.These fluctuations can be due to pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles. Starting, stopping, or changing hormonal forms of birth control can also be to blame. 

  • Stress. When our stress increases, androgens also increase; this stimulates oil glands and hair follicles to increase acne. For some adults, balancing a career, family, and personal goals can be time-consuming and stressful (rewarding though it may be!). The additional stress of a pandemic, global economic uncertainty, and social unrest can aggravate and worsen existing acne in adults. These stressors might also be the tipping point for many adults to suddenly experience adult acne they didn't have before.

  • Hair Products. Many hair products (shampoo, conditioner, gel, mouse, and more) are filled with silicones, colorants, and preservatives that are meant to coat our hair. These by-products end up coating our skin and clogging pores. 

  • Maskne. Love 'em or hate 'em, we will likely be wearing masks in public spaces for a long time. While these masks definitely help to keep us (and those around us) safe from disease, prolonged wear of a mask can lead to contact irritation, bacteria imbalance, and - you guessed it - acne. 

How to Treat Adult Acne:

Fortunately, adult acne is perfectly manageable with the right tool chest. We recommend the following for combating adult acne and putting your best face forward: 

  • Reduce Stress. Easier said than done, we know. Consistent exercise, meditation, and ample "me time" can be an easy way to relieve stress and keep your stress hormone levels in check. 

  • Seek Clean Hair Care. Look for shampoo (and other hair care products) that are silicone free. Bonus if they are paraben, sulfate, and cruelty free (just like GR8 Skincare products).

  • Proper Post-Mask Care. After prolonged mask-wear, it's important to immediately cleanse, tone, and apply a vitamin-rich serum. See this blog post for a more in-depth review of post-mask skincare.

  • Daily Skincare Routine. Make sure you follow a strict daily skincare regimen which includes: 1. Calibrated Cleansing: Cleanse the skin twice daily (and more often after sport and exercise) with a low pH cleanser that is also non-drying and exfoliating. Not only will your skin be free of oil and grime, clean skin is primed and ready to absorb key vitamins from other serums. (Hint: Calibrated Cleansing should also be applied to household linens like bath towels and pillowcases on a regular basis!) 2. Essential Exfoliation: Most of the causes of acne listed above ultimately result in clogged pores. The best way to prevent clogged pores is to gently exfoliate daily. This can be done mechanically with a gentle clay scrub or chemically with a fruit acid based toner3. Vital Vitamins: No skincare routine is complete without Vital Vitamins, especially Vitamins A & C. Vitamin A is especially important because it normalizes cellular turnover in the skin. Simply put, Vitamin A prevents clogged pores by sloughing off dead skin cells. It also normalizes sebum production and helps repair cellular damage to the DNA of skin cells. We recommend this powerful Vitamin A serum that also contains probiotics, anti-oxidants, and hyaluronic acid. 

No one wants to struggle with acne, especially adults. The good news is that adult acne is treatable with a holistic approach that includes lifestyle adjustments and proper skincare.

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