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Why Do Adults Get Acne?

Why Do Adults Get Acne?

Many people think leaving the teen years behind also means farewell to a face full of pimples. Some, however — including up to 15% of women — end up disappointed. The truth is acne can strike at any age, including long into adulthood. Fortunately, treatment options are available for smoother, clearer skin.

At Plateroti Dermatology in Templeton, California, Dr. Carmelo Plateroti and our top-notch staff provide high-quality care that incorporates both Western medicine and holistic practices. Whether the concern is dermatological, like acne, or aesthetic, we combine our team's collective experience of more than 30 years with state-of-the-art treatments for the best possible results.

Adult acne

Acne occurs in up to 50 million Americans every year, and though it happens most often in teens, it can also affect people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. There are even some individuals who experience their first bout as adults. Although both men and women can suffer from acne, women bear the brunt with approximately 85% of the cases.


Adults get acne for a variety of reasons. These can include the following:


Often individuals with acne have one or more relatives who have also suffered from it. It could be a parent or sibling, but could also be an aunt, uncle or cousin.


Changing levels of hormones can lead to acne. Breakouts may be more likely to occur around a woman's period, during pregnancy, perimenopause, or menopause or if she starts or ends birth control pills.

Hair and skin care products

Some shampoos, conditioners, and styling products as well as certain kinds of makeup, face creams, and moisturizers can be oil-based and trigger acne. To avoid this risk factor, look for products that say they are oil-free, are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, or that they won't clog pores.


Stress — both physical and emotional — can cause hormones to stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles, which can, in turn, lead to acne.

Medications and medical conditions

Certain medications such as some corticosteroids, antidepressants, and epilepsy drugs can contribute to acne breakouts. A variety of medical conditions can also play a role, including rosacea, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and more.


Though acne is no fun at any age, it can be particularly bothersome to adults. Having a good self-care routine is important for preventing breakouts as much as possible. This includes using oil-free moisturizers and cosmetics along with gentle skin cleansers. Wearing sunscreen or staying out of the sun and taking a shower after sweating can also help.

Even after following these preventive steps, some adults may need a personalized treatment plan. Daily topical treatments, oral medications, and phototherapy using carefully measured UV light exposure are several options.

If you're tired of acne breakouts ruining your complexion, click our request button, or call us at 805-434-2526 today to make an appointment and find out which treatment is right for you.

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