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Causes of Adult Acne in Women

Causes of Adult Acne in Women Causes of Adult Acne in Women Causes of Adult Acne in Women

Somewhere between 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from acne, the most common of all skin diseases in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The primary causes of acne in women are excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. The excess skin oil they are talking about is called sebum, which the skin secretes from the upper dermal layers in abundance during adolescence. Many times, clogged pores have small bacteria that are carried into them from the excess of this oil, which then can become inflamed and infected, resulting in pustules, or pimples, blackheads (dirt clogged in pores) or the common whiteheads (bacteria in the pores; which are white blood cells that are fighting off the bacterium). Before you can find proper treatment, it's important to understand what causes acne to flare up in adult women.

Improper Skin Care

According to skin care expert Diane S. Berson, M.D., of Weill Medical College at Cornell University, properly caring for your skin is the best approach in defeating acne. Making small changes in the way you care for your skin daily can go a long way. Using noncomedogenic makeup, skin creams and hair products can help prevent clogged pores and breakouts.


The ever-changing hormones that are in the female body are also part of the equation, according to the Women's Health website. These hormonal changes, which also occur during puberty, activate the hormones called androgens, which increases the skin's production of sebum, thus increasing the likelihood of clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Since there is an abundance of androgens present during all portions of the menstrual cycle, premenstrual breakouts due to excess oils from hormonal fluctuations are prevalent, according to the Acne website.

Triggers and Irritants

Coming into contact with certain irritating substances can sometimes trigger an acne outbreak. Heavily perfumed soaps, laundry detergents and lotions come to mind. While specific foods like chocolate and fried foods have no medical link to acne breakouts, certain foods can sometimes cause acne if you have a sensitivity or allergy. If you notice blemishes cropping up after eating foods like shellfish or soda, remove them from your diet.

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