Adult acne has been on the rise for the last few decades and is at its highest ever level. So why is no one talking about it?
There seems to be ample brands aimed at teenagers, but what about those who are going through acne in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s?
This leaves many feeling alone, and can really affect their mental health.
At 47 Skin, we help adults and teens. We want to make you feel supported and represented at every age.
What is adult acne?
Adult acne is defined as persistent spots and blemishes that occur after the age of 25.
This can be a continuation of acne which started in teenage years, or it can occur, even if you never suffered with spots during puberty. This is called ‘adult onset acne’ and can happen at any age.
It tends to be mild to moderate in severity and most commonly affects the face, neck, chest or back.
Adult acne affects around 15% of women, but is usually less common in men.
Why are so many adults getting acne?
There are many factors which can affect whether you get acne in your adult years, some of which are out of your control. Here are some of the most common ones:
You may have higher hormone levels. Hormones cause your glands to produce more sebum, leading to a higher chance of acne. Adult acne in women is often linked to pregnancy, menstrual cycles or the menopause, which can be a very common cause of adult onset acne.
Genetic factors –if your parents or grandparents suffered with acne, it’s possible that’s a reason why you also suffer with it.
Applying certain cosmetics to the skin can cause blemishes, especially some moisturisers and foundations. Watch out for products that contain lanolin, petrolatum, vegetable oils, butyl stearate, lauryl alcohol and oleic acid.
Smoking can cause acne (if you haven’t already found enough reasons to quit, here is another one!)
Certain medications may cause acne, so it’s worth asking your doctor if you’re taking any long-term medications.
Stress and depression can cause acne as this can affect your hormone levels as well.
Dairy products and certain processed foods can also cause acne, for some people. Read our blog on ‘can foods cause acne?’ to find out more about how this could be affecting your skin.
What else is causing a rise in adult acne?
There have been several research studies carried out into finding out why so many people are suffering with adult acne, compared to 50 years ago.
Some researchers have said that a ‘Western diet’ which is high in meat, dairy and processed foods, could be causing a surge in hormones and leading to blemishes.
Other studies have also speculated that the rising temperatures of climate change and pollution could be increasing cases of acne, although this has not been proven.
Some have commented that the pressures and pace of modern life are causing higher levels of stress that most people probably didn’t experience a few decades ago, so this could also be contributing to adult acne.
How can adult acne be treated?
A good skin care routine. Keeping your skin clean and hydrated is essential for preventing breakouts, especially for acne prone skin. Avoid harsh cleansers which dry out your skin, as this can cause your pores to produce more oil to compensate, leading to more spots. Using a hydrating cleanser which kills bacteria such as our Everyday Cleanser and following with our Anti-blemish & Scar Repair Serum is an ideal way to help prevent acne. The Silver Chitoderm in this serum naturally removes dead skin cells and bacteria, and helps heal existing blemishes, without drying out your skin.
Antibiotics– There are several different antibiotics that can be prescribed to treat acne. Make an appointment with your GP if you feel like your acne isn’t being controlled from skin care alone.
Topical treatments – Your doctor can also prescribe you creams such as benzoyl peroxide to control your breakouts. This can be effective for reducing the spots but often dries your skin out as well and can irritate sensitive skin.
Isotretinoin (also known as Accutane) is a strong drug used to treat and cure acne. It’s often used as a last resort due to the risks and side effects involved. You can be prescribed this by your GP in severe cases of acne, or you may need to see a private Dermatologist to get a prescription for more moderate cases.
Contraceptives– Going on the combined hormone pill (or changing your method of contraception) can be very effective in reducing acne. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss your options.