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Tips for Adult Acne Prevention

If you're dealing with adult acne, you're not alone. We'll take you through the basics of what causes acne and the differences between experiencing it as a teenager and an adult. We'll also give you some tips for adult acne skin care to help you achieve clear, radiant skin.

Understanding Acne Basics

You've almost certainly had experience with acne — after all, it's the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting up to 50 million people every year. Pimples can be painful and always inconvenient, especially since they tend to appear just when you want to look your very best.

Here's your chance to learn more about acne and its causes so you know what you're up against. 

What Is Acne?

To understand acne, you need to know a little bit about your pores. Pores are the tiny openings around your hair follicles. Along with the hair, the follicle also contains an oil gland to keep your skin moisturized and help remove dead skin cells. 

Occasionally, the oil will clog a pore with those dead skin cells instead of clearing them, developing a pimple. Some types of pimples that might develop are:

  • Blackheads: A blackhead forms when the clog keeps your pore open, appearing as a flat, dark spot.
  • Whiteheads: When the clog seals the pore over, a whitehead develops as a white or yellowish bump.
  • Papules: Appearing as small inflamed pink or red bumps, papules develop when bacteria on the skin damage a clogged pore.

It's important to note that pimples are only a symptom, while acne is the cause behind them.

What Causes Acne?

We can point to several causes for pimples, from too much oil and dead skin cells to the presence of bacteria in the pores. But what causes those conditions in the first place? What makes acne so tricky is that there is no single cause. While hormones and family history often play a part for teens and adults, adult acne has a broader range of potential factors. Some researchers even believe that individual sensitivities impact acne development.

While it can be a challenge to find the root of your acne, some situations can definitely make a breakout worse, such as:

  • Pollution and high humidity.
  • Stress.
  • Picking or squeezing pimples.
  • Irritated skin.

Adult vs. Teenage Acne

Since teens and young adults are more likely to develop acne, many people consider acne a teenage affliction. However, studies show that it also affects anywhere from 12% to 41% of adults. Let's take a look at the differences between the acne you experience in your teen years and the acne you develop as an adult.

Acne in Teenagers

Teenagers who develop acne can usually expect it to last for about five to 10 years. It's more likely to develop in boys, probably because of higher levels of androgen and testosterone, which triggers more oil production.

Teens are most likely to experience breakouts on their face, back, and chest. Since androgens are a major cause of teenage acne, those breakouts are more likely to stem from too much oil and produce more blackheads and whiteheads than adults. 

Acne in Adults

While most teenagers can expect their acne to clear up by their early 20s, some people will experience it much longer. While it can begin or resume in adulthood, persistent acne — where breakouts continue from adolescence without a pause — is the most common type of adult acne. Unlike its teenage form, however, adult acne is more common in women.

Acne is typically less severe in adults than in teenagers. The most common area for breakouts also shifts from the T-zone to the lower face, usually around the mouth and on the chin or jawline. Possible adult acne causes include:

  • Family history: While there's no sign that acne accompanies a specific gene, the majority of people with adult acne have a parent, aunt, or uncle who also experiences it. Your family history may also determine how much oil your follicles produce and how likely they are to clog.
  • Hormonal changes: Your hormonal balance changes as you age. These changes can lead to changes in your skin like pH imbalances and increased inflammation and oil production.
  • Medications: Some medications may lead to breakouts. If you receive corticosteroids to help lower inflammation, you may experience a breakout several weeks after your treatment. Antidepressants and epilepsy medications may also lead to more breakouts.
  • Stress: Mental, emotional, and physical stress can all increase your chances of a breakout. When you're under stress, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. One of the side-effects of extra cortisol is increased oil production in your follicles, which can lead to clogged pores. Physical stress can also weaken your immune system, making it easier for bacteria to survive on your skin and lead to pimples.

4 Tips for Adult Acne Skin Care

You have a world of adult acne treatment options to choose from. How you approach your acne will depend on your most probable causes, skin type, and how much time and energy you're willing to commit. However, we've put together these four tips that anyone with adult acne can follow to help control and prevent breakouts.

1. Wash Frequently

The best way to keep your skin clear is to keep it clean, and that goes for more than just your face. Experiencing adult acne on your back? Remember, anywhere you have hair follicles, you have the potential for a pimple. 

You should wash acne-prone skin at least twice a day. Leaving sweat and oil to sit on your skin can lead to clogged pores, so be sure to also wash up after your workout or any other strenuous, sweat-producing activities.

2. Choose the Right Products

With so many adult acne products on the market, how do you know what to use? Follow these tips to find the combination that's right for you:

  • Learn the ingredients: Get familiar with skin care's most common active ingredients and their side effects. Knowing which ingredients give you the results you're looking for will help you choose the best products.
  • Avoid-based products: Choosing water-based instead of oil-based products for your moisturizers and cosmetics will help you avoid clogged pores. You can also try alternatives like Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation, which uses an antibacterial aloe vera base.
  • Use a lower strength to start: As much as we all want to see results as quickly as possible, starting with active ingredients at a lower strength will help minimize side effects. You can gradually increase the strength you use as your skin adjusts.
  • Build a skin care routine: Finding the right adult acne face wash is only the first step. Once you understand your skin's needs, create a skin care routine that lets you meet them. 

3. Use a Gentle Touch

It's essential to treat your sensitive, acne-prone skin gently, especially when you're experiencing a breakout. Squeezing, picking, or popping your acne can make it worse and even lead to scarring. Similarly, while it may be tempting to scrub at your face when it feels dirty or oily, a gentle approach will help you keep from irritating your skin even more.

When you're washing up, use a light touch by:

  • Removing your makeup with micellar water.
  • Using gentle products, like the hypoallergenic Replenix BP 10% Acne Wash + Aloe Vera.
  • Applying products with your fingers instead of a washcloth, sponge, or brush.
  • Avoiding toners, astringents, and exfoliants.
  • Rinsing your skin with lukewarm water.

4. Watch What Touches Your Skin

Everything that touches your skin has a chance to leave something behind, so minimize contact as much as you can. For the most part, that will mean keeping contact with your face to a minimum.

Keep your hair away from your face even when clean since residue from hair products can make a breakout worse. Try to limit direct contact with things like hats and helmets, phones, and backpack straps that might deposit sweat, dirt, and oil on your skin.


PCA Skin Acne Clarifying DUO 

Dr. Zenovia Clear Complexion Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer

Dr. Zenovia Clear Complexion 10% Glycolic Acne Control Peel Pads

Get Clear Skin With Exclusive Beauty Club

Now that you know how acne works and what you can do to fight it, it's time to take the next step toward healthy, glowing skin.

Exclusive Beauty Club is an authorized and trusted retailer with a curated selection of premium physician-recommended skin care products. Let us help your skin reach its full potential. Browse our acne products to start reclaiming control of your skin. You can also reach out to our experts for help building your personal skin care routine today.