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Reasons for Adult Acne

Reasons for Adult Acne Reasons for Adult Acne Reasons for Adult Acne

Adults with acne may find themselves especially frustrated. Acne is a skin condition usually associated with adolescence, but it does occur in adulthood and can lead to symptoms of significant anxiety and depression, reports a 2009 article in the journal "Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry." Acne can start in adolescence and persist well into adulthood. Adults can also re-develop acne after having had clear skin for many years. Acne develops when excess skin oil, skin cells and bacteria accumulate in the pores. There are several reasons this process can happen in adults.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, certain medications can cause acne. Birth control pills that contain only progestins may make acne worse, while birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestins can improve the skin and are sometimes prescribed to treat adult acne in women. Some anticonvulsants and corticosteroids can cause acne. Never stop taking a medication you need because it causes or worsens acne--ask your doctor if a different medication can be prescribed.


Hormones can have a role in the development of acne in the adult. Women can experience acne due to hormonal changes. In addition to stopping birth control pills, pregnancy and menstruation can cause acne, explains Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, suffer from acne more frequently than others. Hormonal fluctuations from menopause can also cause acne.


Acne can be triggered by stress, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. The body produces more androgens, a type of hormone, in response to stress. Oil glands are stimulated by these hormones and can result in acne . A 2003 study from Stanford Medical School found that acne may be significantly influenced by emotional stress.

Skin and Hair Care Products

Acne cosmetica is the medical term used for acne caused by skin and hair-care products that clog the pores. Look for products labeled "non-acnegenic" or "non-comedogenic" when buying products to use on your skin. They are less likely to cause acne, explains the American Academy of Dermatology.

Family History

Some people may have a genetic predisposition to acne. Fifty percent of adults with acne have a parent, sibling or child who had acne. A 1999 study in the "British Journal of Dermatology" reported that the risk of adult acne was much greater in a person who had a first-degree relative with acne--this finding is an important indicator in determining an individual's risk. Acne may be an inherited disease.

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