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Adult Acne - What Causes It And How To Deal With It

Acne is something that we usually associate with teenagers. We also tend to think that it’s something that will pass with time. But as the pace of life is growing this is changing. For many people, teenage acne never goes away and, for some, it comes back like a horrific memory from high school. Whether we like it or not, adult acne is a growing problem and it can affect both people who suffered from acne as teenagers and people who never had that problem.


Hormones – problems with the hormonal system don’t end with puberty. For women changes linked to the menstrual cycle can play a huge role in periodic breakouts. For both men and women testosterone can cause problems with the skin. It stimulates the skin to produce more sebum and therefore can cause blocked pores, inflammation, and eventually breakouts. If you suffer from acne it’s worth having your hormone levels checked by an endocrinologist and consulting with a dermatologist.

  • Stress – especially prolonged stress, can influence your hormonal system leading to an imbalance and in consequence to skin problems. Breakouts can be one of the visible signs of stress but remember that stress affects the whole body, so stress management is crucial. We’ve met people whose first outbreak happened in their late 40’s directly after one very stressful event! You can try meditation, yoga, aromatherapy or dispersing essential oils (like Lavender or Chamomile) in a nebuliser. Physical activity can also help release tension.
  • Pollution – One clear sign that air pollution is to be blamed for your acne is that your skin clears up whenever you leave the city. You can’t isolate yourself entirely from outside conditions, but you can install an air filter at home and in the office. Even a small, desk-size air filter can make a big difference to your skin. Consider using skin care that will create a barrier between your skin and the external environment. Face creams containing beeswax and oils can be a great solution – check our  Honey Balm, NangaiBalm, Kukui Nut Butter and Tamanu Balm.
  • Skin care products – many modern skin care products contain an endless list of ingredients. If you use aplethora of products, interactions between some ingredients can lead to sensitivity, dryness or irritation and sometimes acne. Try cutting the number of products in your skin care regime and see if that reduces your acne. You can also try products that have fewer ingredients to minimise the risk of acne eruptions. We recommend our nourishing one-ingredient balm or our pure Tamanu Oil.
  • Too much cleansing – cleansing is important, but over cleansing can hurt your skin’s natural protection and make it easier for potentially harmful elements (such as air pollution, as mentioned before) to penetrate it. Also, it can cause increased sebum production, which can, again, lead to breakouts.
  • Food allergies – some people observe that their acne tends to get worse after they eat spicy or oily food. For other people, dairy and seafood can be responsible for worsening skin condition. Observe your skin and try to identify what exacerbates it.
  • Sugar –it raises your insulin level, which has been linked to boosting testosterone levels which can then lead to acne.
  • Stimulants – alcohol, coffee and black tea all exacerbate any skin condition. If you find it difficult to abstain, then consider this: drink one glass of water for every measure that you drink. Not only will this habit make your nights out cheaper, it will help your system sluice out the toxins and rehydrate, as alcohol, coffee and black tea are all diuretic, meaning that they take water from your body!


If you suffer from acne, then first of all have your hormone levels checked by an endocrinologist.

Observation and journal keeping can be helpful when ascertaining what the causes of outbreaks are. Write down daily what you ate, what products you used and the condition of your skin. Keeping this kind of record can help identify factors that make your skin break out and eliminate them.