Top Causes of Adult Acne

It seems unfair to still get acne even into your adult years—after all, you already did your time! However, adult acne is actually quite common in women and can even continue into your menopausal years. Today, we are going to cover the top causes of adult acne and what to do in order to prevent the acne in the first place. If you are looking for a solution, it might be time to consider a facial treatment or chemical peel from Become MedSpa! Call us today to learn more about how we can help.

Your hormones could be at fault.

For females, hormone fluctuations right before their menstrual cycle is the main cause of a breakout. Androgens, or male hormones, tend to increase right before your period, which can lead to deep cystic acne around the chin, neck, and back. 

Stress can influence the severity of your acne.

Your hormones also fluctuate with stress, so take a deep breath! Whether you work full-time, are a full-time mom, or you somehow manage both, your stress levels are probably through the roof. Stress causes your adrenal gland to work extra hard and produce a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can help you deal with stress, but unfortunately, testosterone tends to be released with it. For women, this causes your oil glands to produce more oil than normal. Of course, this oil is the root cause of breakouts.

Pollution also influences acne. 

Even though we can’t see it, our air is actually quite polluted. This pollution adds a layer of dirt and grime to your face during the day without you noticing. In Long Island, this is definitely the case. Don’t believe us? Go for a walk for half an hour outside. When you get home, wipe your face with a toner pad or face wipe and take a look at the color left behind. It won’t be pretty!

You may be using the wrong skincare products.

It’s essential that you know your skin type! For those of you with oily or combination skin, you should be using a skincare product that is labeled as being “oil-free,” “noncomedogenic,” or “water-based.” Any one of these will help you know that your moisturizer isn’t going to clog your pores and make your acne worse. Also, if you have dry skin and acne, make sure you are not washing your face too much. This can strip your face of your natural oils, which makes your skin work overtime to produce more oil to make up for the loss. This can also lead to bad breakouts. 

You’re washing your face too much or too harshly.

If you over-wash your face, it can make your acne way worse. You should never cleanse your face more than twice a day. Gentle cleansers are almost always the way to go, and this excludes the type with little grainy bits in them to exfoliate. Washing with those is like exfoliating your face twice a day—this is more likely to lead to irritation and more acne than just using a mild cleanser. 

Foods could be a part of it, but that’s still up in the air.

While no foods have been proven to cause acne in everyone, pay close attention to your body. Do you tend to break out when you eat fried foods or chocolate? This goes for dairy as well, which has been shown to affect the amount of acne some people have. Whatever it is you should avoid, keep that in mind. However, iodine causes acne in everyone if you eat enough of it. It can be found in shellfish and some greens like kelp and spinach. While a little bit is fine, the iodine can build up over weeks and months before it begins to negatively affect the skin.

Your sweet tooth might be an issue.

Sugar can lead to issues because it requires your body to raise its insulin levels. More evidence is beginning to show us that insulin can boost oil-triggering male hormones, which as we stated earlier, can cause some nasty breakouts. Do your best to stick to foods that are low in sugar with complex carbohydrates. A great choice is whole grain foods, which always break down much slower as you digest them. This leads to a much lower increase of insulin. 

So How Can You Treat It?

In order to treat your adult acne, there are a few steps you can take. You want to look for skincare products that include these ingredients:

  • Salicylic acid: This acid unclogs pores and works for both spot treatment and use on your whole face.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This kills the acne bacteria while also exfoliating the pores. However, it isn’t very gentle, so we recommend using it only for spot treatment.
  • Sulfur: Sulfur can pull oil out of skin, and it has a drying effect.
  • Glycolic acid: This alpha-hydroxy acid is an exfoliating ingredient that can target both acne and wrinkles. 
  • Retinol: These products are effective treatments because they build collagen. However, they are harsh and can be too much for sensitive skin.


While you can care for your skin at home, in the end, there is only so much you can do. If you are looking for extra and long-lasting help when it comes to keeping your skin clear and radiant, it’s time to call Become MedSpa. Our team of professionals is here to help you as you seek a smooth complexion. Contact us today to learn about all our facials and chemical peel options.