Dealing with Adult Acne: Tips to Minimize Breakouts and Improve Your Skin

Adult Acne


As an adult, you may have hoped to leave acne behind during your teenage years. However, for many, blemishes continue to mar otherwise healthy skin, with some experiencing worse acne in adulthood than in adolescence. In fact, approximately one in five adults between 25 and 44 years old have acne.

Acne is not simply a cosmetic problem, as it can greatly affect your quality of life regardless of your age or the severity of your condition recurring skin breakouts can impact your self-esteem and body image. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize or potentially eliminate acne outbreaks on your face, back, shoulders, neck, chest, limbs, or elsewhere by making a few small changes to your daily routine.

While there is no single cause of adult acne, certain factors influence it, many of which are out of your control. However, the way you treat your skin plays a significant role. By adopting the following habits, you can help improve your skin’s appearance:


  • Check your hair and skin products: Hair conditioners, gels, pomades, shaving products, cosmetics, moisturizers, sunscreens, and other oil-containing products can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Switching to “non-comedogenic” hair and skin products that don’t clog pores can make a significant difference in your skin’s appearance. Also, minimize the number of products you use, and avoid wearing makeup during heavy exercise.


  • Adopt a hands-off policy: Resting your chin or cheeks in your hands or rubbing your nose can encourage bacteria growth and cause infection in areas inflamed by adult acne. Picking or squeezing acne can drive bacteria deeper into the skin, leading to more inflammation and possible scarring.


  • Don’t let sweat stick around: Rinse off as soon as possible after exercising to avoid trapping substances in your pores. Sitting in sweaty clothes, especially tight-fitting ones, can lead to acne on your chest, back, and other parts of your body.


  • Avoid overwashing and harsh scrubbing: Washing frequently with harsh substances won’t solve the problem, and may make it worse by prompting excess oil production and more blemishes. Wash gently with mild soap once or twice a day and pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Be cautious when using acne-prone cleansing products, as they can irritate healthy skin.


  • Lower your stress levels: Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can stimulate an overproduction of oil in the skin. When this excess oil mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria, it can cause acne to develop or become worse. Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch and practice deep breathing, or exercise regularly to reduce stress.

While most mild acne breakouts can be controlled with proper skin and body care, more severe cases may be caused by hormonal changes, medication side effects, allergic reactions to foods or cosmetics, or genetics. If you don’t see results after a month or two of healthy habits, talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist about your potential adult-acne causes and treatment options. Remember, simplicity is often the best solution when it comes to skin care.