Why is Adult Acne on the Rise?

If you thought you left acne back in your teen years, then think again. Adult acne is a real thing, and it’s flaring up big time. In 2016, 92 dermatology clinics reported a 200 percent increase in reported adult acne cases.

In 2018, a review of studies confirms that a significant increase has occurred. Adult acne is more likely to affect men than women, and there are many reasons why late-onset adult acne can strike anyone at any time.

4 Common Reasons Adult Acne is on the Rise

1. Stress

Stress is one of the biggest concerns for the onset of adult acne. Stress is particularly concerning for women who work full-time and care for families. Little-to-no downtime keeps stress hormones and oil glands working around the clock.

If your body doesn’t get any or very little time to rest and reset, then you’re bound to experience a cascade of stress-related problems, acne being one of them.

2. Poor Diet

Americans eat notoriously high amounts of sugar. These high glycemic foods—whether it’s in the form of candy, cakes, and sodas or pastas and breads—send your hormones into massive spikes and dips. Eventually the wild swings in your hormones create stress and inflammation in your body, which leads to the formation of acne.

If you want to dive more into control acne with diet, you might want to give an Acne Elimination Diet a try.

3. Hormones

Stress and a poor diet lead to hormonal changes which influence the body’s production of oil and acne. And yet, hormones in and of themselves are their own beast and trigger for adult acne.

Many American women have been on some form of birth control since the menarche. Women who get off hormonal birth control in their 30s and 40s are subject to the teenage hormonal swings they masked all those years ago. These swings can set up the body for outbreaks as though they were back in high school.

4. Poor Skincare Routine

In an attempt to combat aging, women in their 30s and 40s layer themselves in anti-aging creams, washes, remedies and more. Some dermatologists even recommended overloading the skin with heavy creams.

If you’re using more than three products in your morning or evening skincare routine, then you’re going overboard. It’s best to avoid oil-based treatments as much as possible. And be aware of what chemicals are in your products. Layering can make them ineffective and ultimately harmful for your skin.

Other Causes for Adult Acne

Stress, poor diet, hormones and excessive skincare routines are some of the primary reasons for the rise in adult acne in recent years. But there are a few other reasons you could be dealing with this issue.

5. Medication Side Effects

Almost any medication has side effects, and everyone responds differently to medications. Perhaps one of your medications is the source of your acne. Do a self-check: when did the acne start? Does it coincide with the start of any new medications? Review your medications and their side-effects, and talk about it with your doctor.

6. Undiagnosed Medical Condition

Undiagnosed medical conditions can be a source of acne, as well. Imbalance in the body systems can lead to acne, or it can be a byproduct of an underlying disease. You’ll need to consult with your physician to get a clearer picture on whether or not a medical condition is behind your acne.

7. Genetics

Last but not least, some people are more likely to have late-life acne purely because their mother or father had it, and their parents had it, too. Genetics can be one source for adult acne but doesn’t necessarily contribute to the significant rise in recent years.

Image via Getty Images


Martija M
Marija M1 days ago


Kathy K
Kathy K2 days ago


Danuta W
Danuta Watola4 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Peggy B
Peggy B4 days ago


Ruth S
Ruth S4 days ago


Ruth S
Ruth S4 days ago


Dennis H
Dennis H4 days ago


Val Pla
Val Pla5 days ago


Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn5 days ago

Many thanks to you !

Tanya W
Tanya W5 days ago

I have never had acne. Not even as a teenager. Lucky and grateful.