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Why Do I Have Acne When I'm an Adult?

Why Do I Have Acne When I'm an Adult?

Whether you sailed through your teens without a spot, or you had several bad cases of acne throughout high school, chances are you never expected to deal with zits and pimples as an adult. Most people expect acne to magically disappear when they hit their 20s and 30s, but about 85% of women and 15% of men still deal with this common skin condition for many years.

At Chappell Rosso Dermatology and The Laser & Aesthetic Center in Odessa, Texas, our team of skin specialists led by Dr. Ritchie Rosso, Jr. and Dr. Robert Chappell, Jr. understands that acne can strike at any age. We also know that it can be particularly tough to deal with as an adult.

Here, we talk about the factors that can cause acne regardless of your age and the treatments that can reduce or eliminate breakouts and scars.

Causes of adult acne

Acne has a reputation for being a “teen thing” because most kids that age typically experience at least occasional breakouts, if not a full-fledged case of pimples, cysts, whiteheads, and blackheads all over their face, chest, shoulders, and back. 

All acne stems from clogged pores, which can occur for a variety of reasons. Hormone fluctuation is one of the main factors, so teens going through puberty are prime targets. But adults deal with hormonal issues as well, so that’s where we begin our discussion about adult acne.

The hormone roller coaster

Your hormones fluctuate throughout your life in response to various events and your age. Teens going through puberty start to grow pubic and underarm hair, girls get their period and develop breasts, and boys notice facial hair and a deeper voice. 

Some hormones also trigger the production of sebum, which is a thick, oily substance that mixes with dirt and dead skin cells that can clog your pores and cause acne — even adult acne. Women are especially susceptible to breakouts during menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. 

Things in the air

Environmental factors can also trigger acne, so living and working in the Permian Basin — one of the most prolific oil- and gas-producing regions — means that whatever’s in the air winds up on and in your skin. Our poor air quality is one of the main causes of adult acne in the area, as pollution, smoke, and chemicals irritate your skin and block pores.

Weather conditions

Hot, humid weather increases your skin’s oil production and settles in your pores along with dirt and debris. Many folks in the area notice a breakout when the weather gets steamy. Hot weather presents a double-whammy for acne sufferers, as inevitable sweating exacerbates the problem.

Cold weather can also set off an acne episode, because your body amps up its sebum production to compensate for the dryness. 

Food-related reactions

For some people, food triggers acne breakouts. Common culprits include dairy products, sugar, fried foods, and white flour. 

Certain medications

If you take medications for an existing medical condition, it may be the culprit behind your adult acne. Talk to our team about what you’re taking, and we can let you know if it may be to blame. Classic examples include birth control pills, corticosteroids, and epilepsy medication. In some cases, you may be able to change your medication and calm down your acne.

Hope for adults with acne

Depending on what’s causing your adult acne, Drs. Rosso and Chappell can help you reduce it drastically or eliminate it completely. From prescription-strength topical solutions and oral antibiotics to hormone treatments and professional extractions, we can clear your skin and boost your confidence.

And if you have acne scarring, we can reduce that as well with laser skin resurfacing to even out the tone and texture and diminish the traces of past breakouts.

To find out how we can help you get rid of your adult acne, schedule an appointment online, or call our office today. 

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