What Can Cause Acne Breakouts In Adults?

Updated on 2017-05-14 – We often get the question “What Can Cause Acne Breakouts In Adults?”. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, 80% of people will get acne at some point in their lives. For most, it is early on, during their teenage years because one major cause of acne is massive hormone changes that normally occur during puberty. Also, acne doesn’t discriminate whether you are a man or a woman, either way you can get it. In most situations, when you are young, the acne will usually occur in the face area.

Unfortunately, acne is not just a young person’s problem. Acne can target you at any stage of your life and as you get older the acne doesn’t only appear on your face, it can appear on your back, arms, neck and even your legs. The latest surveys have determined that approx 25% of the male population have been affected by acne as some point in their adult life, while more than 50% of the female population have confirmed that they have been affected, as adults.

What Can Cause Acne Breakouts In Adults?

Recent studies have proven that the following factors come into play with adult acne:

  • Genetics – Like just other known diseases, you might be susceptible to acne just because of plain old genetics. When it comes to acne, genetics are unpredictable. One sibling may get minor acne outbreaks throughout their lives while another sibling has severe outbreaks.
  • Mental stress – Stress is often a huge cause in the development of acne in adults. When the body is stressed, a fluctuation in the body’s hormones occurs which elevates the amount of oil that the skin secretes. The more oil your skin secretes, the more chances you have of developing acne (or making it worse).



  • Environment – The environment is another factor that has been known to cause acne in adults. If your surroundings are always dirty, most likely all the dust will be carried through the wind and eventually land on your face. If left unwashed, the dust and dirt can clog up your pores and infect them making the pores inflamed.
  • Lifestyle – This can also have an effect. Heavy alcohol consumption and smoking can have disastrous effects on your skin and can be a major cause of adult acne for some.


Tips For Dealing With Adult Acne

Just like when you are younger, the best way to treat it is by proper skin care and by maintaining a healthy personal hygiene. That can easily be done by following a few simple daily steps:

  • Take a shower or bath every day.
  • Only use mild soap when cleaning your skin. Harsher soaps will make the problem worse.
  • Keep an eye on your diet. Drink lots of water and try to avoid greasy foods if possible. For some, this can aggrevate the situation.
  • Even better, keep a journal of what you eat. Keeping a journal will help you stay on track with healthy decisions like fruits and vegetables.
  • Get enough sleep. We all have busy lives so sometimes it is hard, however keep in mind that getting enough sleep will loosen your skin pores and hopefully prevent acne from developing.


Additional Tips from Dr. Oz


Put an End to Adult Acne


What Can Cause Acne Breakouts In Adults? The Conclusion

There are several factors that can cause adult acne. But there is always hope and many ways to mitigate the acne outbreaks. A few changes to your lifestyle might be all that you need. If not, there are acne medications and skin care products that may be able to help.
Updated on 2017-05-14 – Updated this article to include a few additional external links for additional information, as well as we included a video where Dr. Oz provides tips on dealing with adult acne.
Disclaimer – Please keep in mind that we are not dermatologists here at Acne Help Today. This was posted for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor and/or dermatologist regarding you health/acne issues.

4 thoughts on “What Can Cause Acne Breakouts In Adults?

  1. As an adult myself, I can definitely confirm two things in this article… first, you can definitely get acne as an adult (and it sucks…). Second, stress is often (at least in my case), the culprit! 🙁

    1. Hi Nick – thanks for the feedback. Yes, stress is definitely a culprit for a lot of people. The tricky part is to keep it under control! 🙂

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