Roughly 20% of acne cases being treated in the United States belong to adults. For many adults, what was thought of as a teenage affliction has continued well into their twenties and thirties. For other adults suffering from acne, the outbreaks did not start until they reached their twenties.
The causes of adult acne vary and can be any one or a combination of the following conditions.
Until recently, stress related acne was a myth. Researchers are now beginning to understand the correlation between stress and acne. For adult acne sufferers, stress is considered to be the leading cause to post-pubescent breakouts.
When we are exposed to stressful situations, the brain triggers the central nervous system, which in turn sends signals to the rest of the body as part of a primitive fight or flight response. Part of this response is hormonal release from our adrenal glands and fatty secretions from the sebaceous glands, which lay beneath the skin.
Both hormonal imbalance and fatty secretions, which can clog pores, are known contributors to acne outbreaks.
Hormonal imbalances as a cause of adult acne primarily affect women. Imbalances that occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle or as a result of pregnancy can lead to acne outbreaks.
There are adult males who report that they have monthly acne episodes. While men obviously do not menstruate, it is believed that men may have hormonal cycles similar to women.
Adults tend to ingest more coffee than do teens. The caffeine in coffee and tea promotes the production of cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. As noted, hormone imbalances are known contributors to adult acne.
The chemicals introduced into the body by cigarette smoking limit blood circulation to skin cells, inhibiting the skin’s ability to heal and regenerate. The toxins released in cigarette smoke can clog pores and promote bacterial growth in pores, all of which contributes to adult acne.
Recent research has shown that people are more likely to suffer from adult acne if they have a family history of adult acne sufferers.
Job conditions that expose the skin to high levels of pollutants, irritants, or humidity can lead to an increase in adult acne.
o Poorly formulated cosmetics that are heavy or greasy can clog skin pores, trapping bacteria, dirt, and oils resulting in adult acne breakouts. Covering acne with makeup can make the condition worse.