7 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne

7 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne

Can Stress Make Acne Worse?

As a teenager, you probably experienced your fair share of breakouts and blemishes, with the promise of acne fading away as you grew up. If you’re still experiencing these unsightly bumps well into your adult years, you’re probably feeling a bit defeated. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 15% of women struggle with adult acne. 

“Adult acne” usually surfaces on the lower half of the face and appears deeper in the skin. The issue is typically caused by a multitude of things, such as hormonal changes and lifestyle choices. The bright side? There are a few simple ways to combat this problem and ditch acne for good. Here are some of the top causes of adult acne and the best ways to treat it.

1. Hair Products

Breakouts caused by hair products, also known as pomade acne, are extremely common. This acne is typically caused by products seeping into the skin and trapping bacteria in your pores. These clogged pores become inflamed and filled with pus or sebum, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads. The best way to avoid these pesky zits is by applying products with your hands, away from your hairline. If you can’t avoid that area, wipe your skin with a simple cleanser to remove any residue that may have landed on your skin.

2. Your Skincare Routine

Believe it or not, your skincare routine could be responsible for your acne struggles. From the ingredients in your daily products to the amount used, it can all wreak unnecessary havoc. To achieve clear skin, avoid over-exfoliating—whether with a scrub, washcloth, loofah, or cleansing brush—as it will only make matters worse. Instead, cleanse your face with a mild or sensitive cleanser twice daily and use a chemical exfoliant two to three times per week. Experts also recommend only using topical spot-treatments two to three times a week to avoid dryness, irritation, and breakouts.

3. Facial Hair Removal

Removing facial hair is a pain in and of itself. Add bumpy, irritated skin on top of that, and it can feel like an absolute nightmare. Hair removal products, such as wax and chemical depilatories, can clog your pores and cause acne or persistent bacteria. Your waxing appointment may be a necessary step to your self-care routine, but to avoid blemish-ridden skin, apply a warm compress to your face three to four times a day after hair removal. If this doesn’t do the trick, see a dermatologist or licensed esthetician for professional products and care.

7 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne: Can Stress Make Acne Worse?

4. Your Diet

The phrase “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more truthful when it comes to breakouts. Health experts found spicy foods to be a common irritant with the ability to alter one’s pH levels and trigger acne. Dairy, gluten, and sugar have also been linked to stubborn zits, but the level of severity varies from person to person. If your skin is under attack, it may be time to incorporate cleaner, healthier foods into your diet. If that doesn’t work, speak with a dermatologist or gastroenterologist to see which foods may be the cause of your skin problems.

5. Smoking

If you have been searching for reasons to kick your smoking habit for good, look no further. Each cigarette decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin and face, reduces your collagen levels, and weakens your skin’s elasticity, in turn causing acne and increased wrinkles or fine lines. Smoking will also cause irritation, increased pores, dryness, and increased oil and sebum production. Bottom line: If you want clear, healthy skin, quit smoking.

6. Cloth Face Masks

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have noticed increased breakouts around your chin, cheeks, and jawline. The culprit? Cloth face masks and all of the humidity, sweat, oil, and bacteria that breeds underneath it. Avoid this problem by switching to a more breathable fabric or disposable masks, cleaning your reusable mask with a simple detergent, or washing your face with a mild cleanser after each use. You should also avoid heavy foundation and other makeup products while wearing a face covering. Instead, go for a light powder or tinted moisturizer.

7. Finally, Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month, and what better way to celebrate than by reducing your stress levels and saying goodbye to the acne? While stress doesn’t necessarily cause acne, it can worsen the problem by releasing inflammatory chemicals and hormones. That’s why you may experience a flare-up before a big date or before an important presentation. To get rid of these unruly zits, use acne products that contain salicylic acid, retinol, and benzoyl peroxide every other night for clear skin. To prevent future breakouts, find ways to unwind, like meditation, yoga, or spending a day at the spa.

Pro Tip: See A Skincare Professional

While these tips are more than easy to follow, there’s nothing like the care of a professional. At Genesis, our estheticians are trained to assess your skin concerns and effectively treat them using high-quality products. On top of that, you’ll get premium advice on caring for your skin at home, plus a list of products that will work best for your skin type.  

Want more skincare tips and tricks? Check out our other articles!

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