adult acne causes and solutions

10 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne (and How to Get Rid of It)

Are you frustrated with persistent breakouts that seem to defy your efforts to achieve clear, healthy skin? Well, here's something you may not know: adult acne is a common issue that affects many people, not just teenagers.

But what exactly is causing these unexpected flare-ups? In this article, we will uncover 10 surprising causes of adult acne that you may not be aware of, and more importantly, we will provide you with effective strategies to banish those blemishes once and for all.

So, prepare to be enlightened and discover the secrets to achieving the clear complexion you've always desired.

Hormonal Changes

If you're experiencing adult acne, one of the main causes to consider is hormonal changes. Hormones play a significant role in the development of acne, and fluctuations can lead to breakouts. During puberty, the surge in hormones can trigger the production of excess oil, leading to clogged pores and acne.

Similarly, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can cause an increase in sebum production and inflammation, leading to acne flare-ups. Perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause, can also result in hormonal imbalances that contribute to adult acne.

These changes can be frustrating, but understanding the role of hormones can help you develop a targeted approach to manage and treat your acne effectively.

Hair Styling Products and Cosmetics

Using hair styling products and cosmetics can contribute to the development of adult acne. These products often contain ingredients that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Hair styling products like pomades and gels can cause a type of acne called pomade acne when they come into contact with the skin. The oils and waxes in these products can block the hair follicles, resulting in pimples and blackheads along the hairline and forehead.

Cosmetics, such as foundation, blush, and powders, can also contribute to acne. Some cosmetics contain comedogenic ingredients that can clog pores and worsen existing acne.

To prevent acne caused by hair styling products and cosmetics, choose noncomedogenic options and be mindful of how these products come into contact with your skin.

Facial Hair Removal

To continue addressing factors that contribute to adult acne, let's now focus on the subtopic of facial hair removal. While removing facial hair can help you achieve a smooth and hair-free complexion, it can also potentially contribute to acne breakouts.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to facial hair removal:

  • Choose the right method: Opt for methods that are less likely to irritate the skin and cause breakouts, such as threading or waxing.
  • Cleanse before and after: Make sure to cleanse your face thoroughly before and after hair removal to remove any dirt or bacteria that may clog your pores.
  • Use noncomedogenic products: Look for products that are specifically formulated to be noncomedogenic, meaning they won't clog your pores.

Skin-Care Products

When it comes to managing adult acne, the choice and usage of skin-care products play a crucial role. The products you use on your skin can either help improve acne or worsen it. To effectively treat adult acne, it's important to choose noncomedogenic and oil-free skin-care products.

These products are specially formulated to not clog your pores, which can lead to acne breakouts. Additionally, limit the number of skin-care products you use and give them time to work before switching to different ones.

It's also essential to thoroughly cleanse your face every night to remove any makeup residue or dirt that could contribute to acne. By paying attention to the skin-care products you use and being mindful of their ingredients, you can help prevent and treat adult acne effectively.

Makeup Remover and Lack of Thorough Cleansing

Properly removing makeup and thoroughly cleansing your face is essential for preventing and treating adult acne. Failing to do so can lead to clogged pores and the accumulation of dirt and oil, which can contribute to breakouts. Here are three important things to keep in mind when it comes to makeup remover and thorough cleansing:

  • Use an effective makeup remover: Invest in a gentle makeup remover that can effectively dissolve and remove all traces of makeup from your face. Avoid harsh products that can strip your skin of its natural oils.
  • Double cleanse: After using a makeup remover, follow up with a gentle cleanser to thoroughly cleanse your face. This will help remove any remaining residue and ensure that your skin is clean and free from impurities.
  • Pay attention to problem areas: Take extra care to cleanse areas where makeup tends to accumulate, such as around the hairline, chin, and nose. These areas are prone to clogged pores and breakouts.

Change in Environment

After properly removing makeup and thoroughly cleansing your face, another factor that can contribute to adult acne is a change in environment. When you travel to different places, especially if there's a significant difference in climate or air quality, your skin may react by producing excess oil or becoming dry and irritated. These changes can clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

Additionally, exposure to excessive sun or humidity can also trigger acne flare-ups. To prevent and manage acne caused by changes in environment, it's important to adapt your skincare routine accordingly. Use oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreen when spending time outdoors, and make sure to cleanse your face thoroughly at the end of the day.

Hydrate your skin with a noncomedogenic moisturizer to maintain its balance.


To effectively protect your skin from harmful UV rays, it's important to choose oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreens. When it comes to sunscreen, here are three things to keep in mind:

  • Look for oil-free formulations: Oil-based sunscreens can clog your pores and contribute to acne breakouts. Opt for oil-free options that won't exacerbate your skin concerns.
  • Choose noncomedogenic formulas: Noncomedogenic sunscreens are specifically designed not to clog your pores, reducing the chances of developing acne. These formulas allow your skin to breathe while still offering effective sun protection.
  • Check for broad-spectrum coverage: Make sure your sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, which shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. This will help prevent sunburn, premature aging, and potential skin damage.


When considering the impact of diet on adult acne, it's important to be mindful of the foods you consume and how they may contribute to skin issues. Certain dietary choices can potentially worsen acne or trigger breakouts.

Foods high in processed ingredients, such as fast food, sugary snacks, and refined carbs, can increase inflammation in the body and potentially lead to acne flare-ups. Additionally, dairy products, especially milk, have been linked to adult acne due to their hormone content.

It may be beneficial to reduce your intake of these foods and opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Remember, maintaining a healthy diet can play a significant role in improving your skin's overall health and preventing adult acne.


Stress can significantly contribute to the development and worsening of adult acne. When you're stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which can increase oil production in your skin and lead to clogged pores. This can result in breakouts and inflammation.

To help manage stress and improve your skin, consider the following:

  • Prioritize self-care: Take time for activities that help you relax and unwind, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can increase stress levels and make your skin more prone to acne. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Seek support: Talk to someone you trust about your stressors and concerns. Sometimes, simply sharing your feelings can help alleviate stress.

Cell Phones and Dry Skin

Cell phones and dry skin can contribute to the development of adult acne.

Your cell phone can harbor bacteria and dirt, which can be transferred to your face when you make calls. These bacteria can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. To prevent this, make sure to clean your cell phone regularly with an alcohol wipe or a soft cloth dampened with an antibacterial solution.

Additionally, dry skin can also contribute to the development of acne. When your skin is dry, it produces more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. This excess oil can mix with dead skin cells and clog your pores, leading to acne.

To combat dry skin, make sure to gently exfoliate and moisturize regularly with a noncomedogenic moisturizer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Certain Medications or Medical Conditions Contribute to Adult Acne?

Certain medications or medical conditions may contribute to adult acne. It's important to be aware of the potential side effects of your medications and consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for managing your acne.

Is There a Link Between Hormonal Birth Control and Adult Acne?

Yes, hormonal birth control can be linked to adult acne. It can cause hormonal changes and imbalance, leading to breakouts. Consult with your healthcare provider for alternative options or ways to manage acne while on birth control.

Can Certain Skincare Ingredients Aggravate Adult Acne?

Certain skincare ingredients can aggravate adult acne. It's important to be mindful of what you're putting on your skin. Look for noncomedogenic products and avoid ingredients like fragrances, dyes, and oils that can clog pores.

Are There Any Natural Remedies or Alternative Treatments for Adult Acne?

There are natural remedies and alternative treatments for adult acne. Some options include tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe vera, and green tea. It's important to consult with a dermatologist to find the best solution for you.

Does Exercise or Sweating Affect Adult Acne?

Exercise and sweating can affect adult acne. The sweat can mix with oil and dirt on your skin, clogging pores and causing breakouts. To prevent this, cleanse your face before and after exercise, and wear breathable, non-comedogenic clothing.