I'm an Adult. Why Do I Keep Getting Acne?

Pure Dermatology
June 14, 2023

Acne doesn’t just affect teens and young adults. It can last a lot longer — into your 30s, 40s, and beyond. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help relieve adult acne symptoms and help you enjoy clearer skin.

Many people think of acne as a skin problem that affects teens and young adults. But acne also affects millions of people in their 30s and older, causing breakouts that have both a physical and emotional impact.  

At Pure Dermatology in southwest Austin, Texas, Dr. Christopher Chu and Dr. Chelsey Straight offer the most advanced treatment options for acne to help patients of all ages. If you’re struggling with adult acne, here’s what could be to blame — and what you can do about it.

Adult acne: The basics

Acne happens when excess skin oils, dead skin cells, and other debris clog hair follicles, trapping bacteria inside. Those dead cells and trapped oils provide a ready food source for the bacteria that multiply rapidly in the warm, protected environment of the follicle.

Increased bacterial growth triggers an immune response, which in turn leads to inflammation. The swollen, red pimples and whiteheads you see are the products of that inflammatory response.

Hormonal fluctuations are a major contributor to acne. During the teen years, changes in hormone levels affect oil production in your skin, increasing the risk of acne. Similar hormonal fluctuations likely play a role in adult acne, along with other issues such as:

  • Genetics or a family history of acne
  • Increased stress, including job, family, financial, and relationship stress
  • Some skin care products and cosmetics
  • Anabolic steroid use

While diet alone doesn’t cause acne, some foods — like processed foods, sugary foods, and greasy foods — can contribute to inflammation and make breakouts worse. Likewise, not getting enough sleep can increase inflammation and lead to more stress, too.

Treating adult acne

You can’t eliminate all of your acne risk factors; for instance, there’s nothing you can do about a genetic predisposition to it. But there are lots of options to manage acne and prevent its symptoms. The key is to work with a skilled dermatologist with experience in treating adult acne.

At Pure Dermatology, we work closely with every patient to identify a treatment that’s focused on improving skin health and stopping blemishes and breakouts. Your treatment might include oral medicines, hormone therapy, topical gels, or in-office treatments using injections, lasers, special facials, or chemical peels.

We also can recommend lifestyle changes that can help, such as switching to gentle cleansers, avoiding products that can inflame your skin, managing stress, and adopting a skin-healthy diet.

It’s important to note that most people respond to a combination of treatments, and that combination is likely to change as your skin changes over time. Regular office visits give our team the opportunity to make adjustments to your therapy, ensuring it stays on track so you can enjoy clearer skin.

Acne treatments that work

Adult acne can wreak havoc on your confidence, but the good news is that it’s treatable — and we can help. Let us develop an acne treatment plan tailored to your skin’s unique needs. Call 512-766-2610 or book an appointment online with the team at Pure Dermatology today.