5 Reasons You Might Have Adult Acne

Teenagers, individuals who have just entered their puberty stage, have had a fair share of acne experiences. Imagine waking up and looking in the mirror only to see acne breakouts spreading across your face—perhaps not a pleasant sight. Thankfully, many individuals recover from teen acne and manage to get their skin looking smooth and supple again. 

But, for many people, acne appears during adulthood. Because they’re way past their adolescence stage, it would be worth looking into the factors that influence adult acne. With these in mind, here are five likely reasons you might be experiencing adult acne: 

Lack of Moisture 

Ironically, the lack of moisture in your skin ramps up oil and sebum production that can eventually clog your pores. People with oily skin are often the victims of excessive oil production, particularly those who don’t moisturize. Not moisturizing your skin will only result in your skin overcompensating moisture loss by generating too much natural oils, making your face greasy and clogged. 

To manage oiliness and clogging of pores, find a face moisturizer that suits your skin’s needs. Oily-skinned people may find creams too heavy for them, so it’s ideal to choose lighter moisturizers like lotions and gel creams. For people with dry skin, moisturizers rich in occlusives are best as these prevent the skin from losing moisture.

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Hormonal Changes 

Changes in hormones influence the skin’s oil and sebum production. This is why acne is notorious with teenagers who undergo drastic hormone fluctuations. Unfortunately, adult acne can happen to women at any given age when they approach their menstruation. 

After ovulation, a woman’s body prepares for menstruation by increasing the production of progesterone. This rapid surge in progesterone causes the skin to swell and shut its pores, thus stimulating sebum production. Because of the excessive sebum on your skin, dead skin cells, bacteria, and hair follicles can be trapped in your pores and irritate them.

Hormonal acne may also show up in the following situations:

Acne caused by hormonal changes is usually located around the jawline and at the bottom of the cheeks. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to manage and treat hormonal acne

Acne-Causing Diet 

Your skin is a significant reflection of your diet and overall health. Sadly, some kinds of food that you regularly enjoy can trigger adult acne, whiteheads, or blackheads. For instance, high-glycemic food like white bread, white rice, sugar, and pasta can raise your blood sugar and encourage a surge of hormones called insulin which stimulates the oil glands to secrete more oil than usual. 

To avoid this from happening, opt for low-glycemic food instead, as it consists of more complex carbohydrates that minimize risks of adult acne. Low-glycemic food includes unprocessed fruit and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. 

Additionally, you can include the following skin-friendly vitamins and minerals in your diet:

  • Vitamin A: beef liver, salmon, goat cheese, hard-boiled egg, sweet potato, kale, collard, mango, watermelon
  • Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnut oil, sunflower oil, avocado, abalone, snail, fish roe, broccoli 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: mackerel, salmon, oyster, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans 
  • Zinc: red meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains 
  • Antioxidants: sweet potato, wild blueberries, turmeric, avocado, dark, leafy greens, red bell pepper, papaya, spinach  

Lack of Proper Hygiene

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How often do you wash your face? Do you often touch your face? Do you clean items that you use on your face? Although these minute details in your daily habits are always left unnoticed, they actually affect your risks of developing acne significantly. 

Paying less attention to your hygiene compromises your skin. For example, touching your face several times a day can transfer bacteria and dirt from your hands to your face. You should also be mindful of objects that come in contact with your face, such as your pillows, mobile phone, makeup sponges and brushes, and even your face towel. 

Moreover, building an effective and consistent skincare routine can save you from adult acne. Simply washing and moisturizing your face is an act of self-care that your skin will appreciate. If you have an existing regimen, you can introduce acne-fighting products that’ll upgrade your skincare routine in no time!

Clogged Pores From Products 

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Another issue that often goes together with insufficient hygiene is how personal care products clog the pores and encourage acne breakouts. When shopping for personal care products, and not just skincare products, always evaluate if they’re potentially comedogenic or allergic to your skin. Products that can trigger your acne include hair products, cosmetics, perfume, fabric conditioner, and the like. 


Adult acne is a condition that doesn’t choose its victims. If you happen to be one of them, it’s crucial to know what might have caused it to get a bigger picture of how to combat your acne and prevent it from occurring again in the future. 

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.