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5 Causes of Adult Acne that are Destroying Your Skin

5 Causes of Adult Acne that are Destroying Your Skin

Acne can be frustrating during teenage years but when they persist into your adulthood, it can be exhausting, especially when it seems like you have tried every acne treatment. Below we will discuss adult acne causes and possible treatments.

What causes adult acne?

Some adults continue to get acne way into their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This problem is more prevalent in women than men[1]. If you have adult acne, below are the most likely culprits:

1. Hormones

Androgens such testosterone increase sebum production. This can happen during 1) periods 2) pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause 3) Discontinuation or start of birth control pills[2]

2. Stress

With stress, our bodies create the hormone cortisol. Unfortunately, during this process more androgens are also produced, which stimulate oil glands and lead to acne. [3]

3. Beauty products

If you have acne, it is critical that you check the ingredient labels on your beauty products, particularly hair and skin products. Make sure that they are non-comedogenic and oil free, so they don’t clog pores and exacerbate your acne.

Some common ingredients that clog pores are:

Coconut Oil

Algae Extract

Sodium Chloride

Lauryl Sulfate

Isocetyle Stearate

4. Medications

Some medicines may cause acne. If you think that your medication is causing your acne, consult with your physician.

Medicines that can cause acne:

Multivitamins that have iodine. Iodine can cause acne if taken enough. Iodine is found in shellfish (lobster, shrimp, crab, kelp, spinach).

Anabolic steroids. Bodybuilders and athletes frequently use anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance. However, anabolic steroids are man made chemicals that are similar to male sex hormones (androgens), which can cause acne.

5. Poor Diet

Certain foods that quickly raise your insulin levels may cause acne. Insulin may boost androgen levels.

In addition, pro-inflammatory foods make acne worst. Therefore, choose to eat leafy greens, fruits, vegetables that contain vitamin C and beta carotene that have anti-inflammatory effect.[4]  

Below are foods to avoid for acne sufferers:

Refined or processed carbohydrates 


Fried and greasy foods 

Dairy foods



Learn how you can take care of your acne before it gets worse. Read about adult acne treatments here.

Read next: How to Get Rid of Cystic Acne with Home Remedies


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