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Adult Acne & Stress

Adult Acne & Stress Adult Acne & Stress Adult Acne & Stress


Acne is most commonly associated with teenagers, but adults can have it, too. says it often moves beyond the face, affecting the bodies of 30 percent of adult acne sufferers. There are various causes of adult acne, but stress can contribute to the problem. Fortunately, medical treatment can be combined with stress management techniques to reduce or eliminate adult acne outbreaks.


Adult acne affects one in five people between the ages of 25 and 44, reports. It often disappears after the teenage years, then comes back in the mid-twenties or later. It may even be worse during adulthood for some sufferers. Dr. M. Alan Menter, chief of dermatology at Baylor Medical Center in Texas, says the problem is worse in women than men, with more than half of women between ages 25 and 58 getting some degree of adult acne. Dr. Stephen Webster, a dermatology professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, says stress is the most common trigger, especially for women in their 30s.


Stress can cause acne because it has concrete physical effects. says your body responds to stress by producing certain hormones such as cortisol. This can lead to the production of too much oil by stimulating the skin's sebaceous glands. The oil combines with bacteria and dead skin cells to cause an adult acne outbreak.

Other Causes

Stress is not the only cause of adult acne. says it can be triggered by skin- and hair-care products, harsh scrubs and sweat. You may cause acne or increase its severity by habitually rubbing your face. Acne can also flare up due to medication side effects, hormone changes and allergies. Other causes may initiate the acne problem, and then stress makes it worse.

Stress Management

If your adult acne is caused primarily by stress, it will get much better or disappear when you remove the underlying problem. recommends doing regular exercise and stretches and learning deep breathing techniques. Proper breathing can be used to counteract stress throughout the day, while exercise lets you physically relieve tension. Don't touch the acne patches, as you can cause more inflammation and scarring.

Medical Treatment

Dr. Menter says stress management and over-the-counter acne remedies may not be enough, with 25 percent of adult acne sufferers needing prescription treatment. Adults with stubborn acne should consult a dermatologist to discuss medication treatment options, including topical creams and antibiotics, chemical peels or laser therapy. Women may be treated with birth control pills, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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