Just when you thought it was safe to go out! Adult acne rears its ugly head


There's nothing more disappointing than hitting your 30’s or 40’s finally having clear skin, and then learning the hard way that bad breakouts are raising their pimply head. Over the last 10 to 20 years, adult acne has been increasing. It can even go into your 50s, right to menopause. Spots and wrinkles, this must be some sick joke, right?

If you had acne as a teen, chances are, you've got oily skin that's prone to breakouts. Or worse yet, maybe you had clear skin in your youth and now – suddenly – you’re are experiencing adult-onset acne.

Knowing what’s causing your complexion woes can help you clear up your skin and keep breakouts at bay.

The Causes


It’s a Hormonal Thing

Fluctuation in hormones, such as before one's period, is one of the biggest and most complex causes of adult acne. Varying levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the main culprits. When these hormone levels change, oil production typically increases causing clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. This usually rears its ugly head in the form of deep (painful) cystic acne around the chin, neck, and back. Menstrual cycle, birth control, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause are all causes of hormonal fluctuation. 

Juggling daily Life

Whether you work full time, are a full-time mum, or juggle both, chances are, your stress levels are high. Being stressed kicks your adrenal gland into producing the hormone cortisol, helping the body to cope but leaking testosterone, producing more pore-clogging oil —the root cause of breakouts. 

Air Pollution

If you live in a city the chances are you’re putting a layer of dirt on your skin. Wipe away the day 

Side effects of medication

Unfortunately, acne can be a side effect of some medicines. If you think a medicine is triggering your acne or making it worse, continue taking the medicine as prescribed, but talk with your doctor. Ask if acne is a possible side effect. You might be able to try a different medicine. 

Your sweet tooth could be causing a problem

Specific types of foods are known to cause inflammation in the body and skin, which can lead to breakouts, but this is no concrete cause-and-effect proven relationship. Foods high in sugars and carbohydrates that spike your insulin levels and even dairy is not always your skin’s friend, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, can affect your skin but just because you eat these foods doesn’t mean you will develop blemishes. Eating clean and healthy foods including complex carbs like whole grains, will cause less of an insulin spike and your health will benefit too. 

You may be using the wrong products

If you’re having trouble with adult acne, your skin-care or hair-care products might be to blame. As you age your skin changes so what worked last year may not work this year. It’s important to know your skin type and learn which products work best for you. If you have oily or combination skin and are prone to breakouts, you should be using skin-care products that are designed to help your skin, something that isn't going to clog your pores and make matters worse.


Making matters worse

Over washing, cleansing too frequently and intensely can make spots worse. Drying the skin, your skin produces more oil to overcompensate which can causes breakouts. A gentle routine that you can stick to with give better results. 

New research has revealed that two thirds of us are spending £369 million every month on short term solutions to solve our skin concerns, from disguising acne breakouts to camouflaging cold sores. If you’re suffering and sick of short term fixes it might be time to seek expert help, discuss your skin concerns and put a long-term plan in place to look after your biggest organ – the skin. 

Jodie Barras smith