The Real Reason You're Still Getting Acne As An Adult

Still getting acne as an adult? Know that you're not alone. According to Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and the author of 100 Questions & Answers About Acne, "as many as 50 percent of women will suffer from acne at some point in their adult lives," she told Allure. And we have to admit, it feels completely unfair so we looked into the real reason you're still getting acne as an adult.


The difference between adult acne and adolescent acne is yet to be determined. "Unfortunately, we don't totally understand the difference in the cause of acne in teens versus adult acne," New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., told Glamour. "The main causes of acne are oil, acne-causing bacteria on your skin, sticky skin cells blocking your pores, and inflammation. Hormonal fluctuations, stress, and diet all likely play a role as well." 

Environmental factors like pollution and sun exposure can worsen adult acne

Environmental factors like pollution are just as likely to wreak havoc on your skin as well. "Air pollution just puts this layer of crap on your face," Neal Schultz, M.D. a New York City dermatologist told SELF. And while many believe sun exposure helps cure acne, Annet King, global director of education at Dermalogica, claims it does the opposite. "The sun exposure will also cause dehydration, which in turn stimulates oil production as your skin tries to correct the issue. That, of course, means you will end up with another breakout," she told Teen Vogue.


While you can control what you eat and protect your skin from pollution, there's one thing that causes adult acne that you can't control — genetics. "Genetics plays a role in adult acne as this can predispose to hormonal irregularities and sensitivities," Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Parade. "If one of your parents or siblings had adult acne, you are more likely to get it."