Statistics show that about a quarter of adult males and half of adult females are affected by adult acne sometime or other in their lives. About 30% of adults who get acne on the face also get acne on the body. Although acne incidence is more commonly associated with adolescents, people have been know to be afflicted by acne in their 30′s, 40′s and even later. Dermatologists report that they have been treating more and more patients with acne and that the disease in adolescents seems to last longer requiring medication even as the teens grow into adulthood. Nearly 30% of women and about 20% of men between the ages of 20 and 60 experience acne breakouts. So acne is becoming a great age leveler, causing anxiety and depression across a wider age range.
The causes of adult acne are not really different from the causes of acne in adolescents and young people. Excess production of androgens resulting in excess sebum leads to clogging of the pores, which then get infected, inflamed and burst out. The main difference lies in the condition of the body of an adult compared with that of an adolescent.
While sebum production may be expected to lower with age, the pores in adult skin may become more narrow making clogging more likely. The condition of the skin in adulthood may be drier with more prevalent shedding of dead skin cells that will mix with the sebum to clog the pores. The increased use of cosmetics or other chemicals on the face also has an effect on the skin condition and may contribute to the likelihood of clogging.
The greater possibility of infection of clogged pores could be another factor in the incidence of acne in adults. Adults, in the course of their daily lives, become exposed to more environmental conditions that could result in bacterial infection of the skin. Men, who are less prone to using cleansers on their faces than women are, may find themselves especially vulnerable to acne outbreaks.
Changes in hormonal balance as one advances in age could also be a cause of adult acne. Premenstrual flares are not uncommon with many women, and some experience acne outbreaks even at menopause. Acne outbreaks during pregnancy are caused by the important hormonal changes in the woman’s body. Changes in the hormonal balance of men may be due to drastic shifts in diet or a worsening vitamin deficiency.
Getting older brings with it greater exposure to stress. Stress due to issues at work and in the family may become more pronounced and become a cause of stress-induced acne conditions. Lifestyle changes brought about by the demands of adulthood may also contribute to acne problems.
And so, the things that cause acne in adolescents are also the same culprits in the case of adult acne. Because acne is the skin’s response to certain conditions, acne will always be a possibility as long as these conditions are present. It is important, therefore, for adults who want to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort of acne to pay attention to these causes of adult acne in the same way they did when they were adolescents.