What’s Causing My Adult Acne?

Feb 01, 2024
misc image
Acne is a common condition among teens – but why is it popping up in later adulthood? Keep reading to discover the underlying causes of adult acne and what you can do to clear up your skin.

Everyone experiences a pimple or zit that pops up at the most inopportune time – but what if it happens more often as you age? Adult acne is more prevalent than you think, but do you have to deal with it on your own?

Living with adult acne is embarrassing, especially when you can't seem to get it under control. The good news is that you can treat adult acne through home care measures and professional treatments.

At The Dermatology Center of Worcester, Dr. Camille I. Roberts offers various treatments for skin conditions, including adult acne. If you're ready to conquer adult acne, Dr. Roberts and her team provide prescription medications to clear it up quickly.

What is adult acne?

Adult acne is simply acne that happens after the teenage years. It can emerge in your late 20s or as far out as your 30s, 40s, and even 50s.

If you think acne is only a condition that affects teens, you're unfortunately mistaken. Acne isn't discriminant, affecting men and women. However, adult women are more likely to get adult acne due to hormonal fluctuations.

Adult acne is incredibly frustrating, especially when you've had it as a teen and overcame the condition. You've likely worked hard to keep your skin clean and healthy, so why is acne popping up before the big promotion at work?

Understanding the causes behind adult acne may help you figure out why you wake up with pimples and redness and allow you to find the proper treatment for clearer skin.

Causes of adult acne

Adult acne happens for many reasons and may even be the first time you're experiencing pimples or breakouts. Women are more likely to get adult acne than men, especially during menopause. Other prevalent causes of adult acne include:


Hormones are responsible for various processes throughout the body and can wreak havoc if they're out of whack. Women's hormones fluctuate significantly around their menstrual cycles or during menopause, which is the prime time for adult acne to set in.


When stress settles in, the body reacts by amping up the production of androgen hormones. These hormones stimulate the hair follicles and oil glands, which can cause acne flares. Taking control of stress may help deal with adult-onset acne.

Skin products

It's common for adults to take on a skin care routine, which often involves various skin products to help moisturize the skin and keep it healthy. However, certain skin care products can cause breakouts to occur.

When choosing skin care products, ensure they are either oil-free, non-acnegenic, or non-comedogenic on the label. Products containing these terms don't typically lead to acne breakouts.


If you have an adult relative who either has adult acne or had acne while growing up, you're unfortunately more likely to suffer from it, too. A genetic predisposition may be the only link between you and adult acne, especially if you don't have any other factors that cause acne in the first place.

Certain medications

Some medications have acne listed as a side effect, which is a frustrating cause of the skin problem; however, if you require that specific drug, we don't advise you to stop taking it.

Instead, Dr. Roberts works with you to find a skin care routine that helps minimize acne breakouts and restores your skin's health.

Undiagnosed medical problem

Some medical issues lead to acne flares, especially when you don't know they exist. However, once you and your doctor get the condition under control, the adult acne typically goes away on its own.

When adult acne strikes, it's frustrating and embarrassing, which is why Dr. Roberts offers solutions such as skin care products and prescription medications. These treatments work quickly to relieve breakouts and restore your skin to normal.

To find out how we can help you control acne breakouts, don't hesitate to call the office in Worcester today at 508-452-2702 or request a consultation on the website.