Charleston Dermatology Blog

How Overall Health Affects Adult Acne (and What You Can Do to Combat It)

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“Why do I still have acne?” If you’re over the age of 25 and still find yourself battling troublesome breakouts, you may be asking yourself this exact question.

Though most common during adolescence, acne can affect adults as well. This inflammatory skin condition is the 8th most common skin disease worldwide.

What causes adult acne?

Breakouts from adult acne occur due to improper function of the skin’s pores, making them unable to eliminate oil buildups when overproduced by the body’s sebaceous glands. This build-up of oil is what leads to blackheads and whiteheads.

While occurring after age 25, adult acne’s causes are essentially the same as those affecting teens and young adults. Common causes of adult acne can include:

  1. Genetic Disposition: Like diseases such as cancer and Type 1 diabetes, your genes play a factor in your odds. If you’re experiencing adult acne, it may be due to a genetic link in your family tree. This link does not need to be in your immediate family and can be inherited from distant aunts, uncles, etc.
  2. Change In Hormone Levels: Fluctuating hormone levels can cause changes in the body, such as pH imbalances, inflammation and excessive oil production – all contributing factors to acne development. It’s important to note that change in hormone levels does not necessarily imply irregular levels. Your body may simply react to these fluctuations differently than others.
  3. Elevated Emotional Stress: Stress-induced emotions like anxiety, fear and pressure are as common in our later years as they were when we were young. These feelings can trigger responses from our sympathetic nervous system and cause our body to release the stress hormone, cortisol, which is triggers increased oil production in skin glands and can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts.
  4. Elevated Physical Illness: Stress to the body can stress out your skin. Physical illnesses or complications can create inflammation, hormonal changes and a weakened immune system. Complications/ deficiencies such as lack of sleep, dehydration, smoking and illness can leave the body in a compromised state and make it easier for outbreaks to strike.

How can you combat and prevent adult acne?

Like with other skin-related issues, there are preventative steps and treatments you can utilize to help you live a life free from adult acne stress.

  1. Speak with a board-certified dermatologist. Identifying the problem and developing a plan are the first and most important steps to combatting any skin-related issue. A board-certified dermatologist is trained to do just that. By identifying your skin type and your type of acne, your doctor can help create a treatment plan tailored just for you.
  2. Develop (and stick with) a skincare regimen. When your skin is happy, so are you. When creating your routine, always opt for products that feature terms such as “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free,” as well as products that promote moisturization. Keeping up with a proven routine is essential to ensure skin remains healthy.
  3. Keep stress levels under control. As mentioned, fluctuating stress levels can cause skin to behave erratically. But while life’s stresses can’t always be avoided, there are ways you can learn to better deal with their impact. Learning to manage stress can help keep levels in check and breakouts under control. Meditation techniques like mindfulness and deep breathing exercises can do wonders for keeping you calm and focused when troubles strike.
  4. Take care of your overall health. Keeping your skin healthy is only one piece of the puzzle. When it comes to your overall health, each piece affects the others. From the foods you eat to the medications you take, each step you take towards a healthier whole contributes to a healthier you. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of adult acne or have noticed changes in the health of your skin, we’re here to help. Our knowledgeable team of board-certified dermatologists is ready to help. Contact Charleston Dermatology today to schedule an appointment at one of our Charleston area locations. 

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