Ask the Expert: Is There An Age When Acne Just Goes Away?
While acne is most often associated with the teenage years of one’s life, it can often persist into adulthood. This ongoing struggle with acne breakouts can lead many of us to wonder if there is an age when acne just goes away? As it turns out, there’s not a clear cut answer to this question—it really does vary from person to person—but, there are steps you can take to help reduce the appearance of existing blemishes and keep new acne breakouts from popping up while you wait it out. To learn more about the lifespan of acne—and for the steps to take while you are experiencing frequent breakouts—keep reading.
As you’d expect, the teenage years are in fact the most common time to have acne, with Mayo Clinic sharing that the prevalence of acne in teens is reported at 70 to 87 percent. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to wave farewell to acne once you bid farewell to your teen years, that isn’t always what happens. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there’s no guarantee that acne will end with your teenage years. Some people have acne well into their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s.
Why Do You Still Have Acne as an Adult?
When you’re planning for your acne to disappear once you’re no longer a teenager, it can be particularly frustrating to be dealing with breakouts still as an adult. According to the AAD, even those who only had a few pimples here and there as teenagers could develop severe acne as an adult.
Although it may seem like adult acne pops up randomly, there are quite a few reasons why you could be suffering from acne flares after your adolescent years. Here are a few reasons why you’re breaking out:
1. YOUR GENDER
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the AAD shares that women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. The AAD also noted that fluctuating hormone levels, which many women go through during pregnancy, periods, and even getting off of birth control pills, is a major cause of adult acne. The academy also highlighted the fact that the most common sufferers of adult acne are usually women who are going through menopause. However, don’t think you’re safe if you’re a man, as men go through periods of hormone fluctuations as well.
Stress is a known acne-instigator, and this study further proves the fact that stressing out can cause breakouts. The study showed that women who had increases in stress severity also had increases in acne severity, proving the linkage between the two. The AAD noted that stress causes a heightened production of androgen hormones, which stimulate oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, leading to acne. If you’re stressing out, try to keep calm by trying some relaxing techniques like meditation.
Chances are, if many of your family members suffer from adult acne, you’ll have a higher risk of forming it. The AAD explained that there are multiple studies that suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to get acne over others, which could be the cause of your adult acne.
4. SKINCARE PRODUCTS
If you’re using skincare products that include ingredients like AHA or retinol, your skin might be purging. It may sound scary, but purging is actually a good thing: skincare products formulated with ingredients that speed up your skin’s cellular turnover rate bring clogged pores to the surface of your skin at a faster rate, causing temporary breakouts. If your products include ingredients known for speeding up the skin’s cellular turnover rate, don’t give up on it just because you’re breaking out. These breakouts are temporary and will go down once your skin gets used to the ingredient. However, if a product is making you break out and it doesn’t include one of those ingredients, then you may be having an allergic reaction or irritation, in which case you should stop using it.
What Should You Do About Adult Acne?
Since there isn’t always a clear end in sight for acne, it’s best to develop a plan of action. In order to help you reduce the appearance of your current blemishes and to help you in your battle to prevent new ones from popping up, here are a few tips.
1. WASH WITH A GENTLE CLEANSER.
It's a popular misconception that harsh products are always required for treating acne. In reality, often the best thing you can do for your skin is to be gentle with it. Twice a day—morning and night—wash with a mild facial cleanser using lukewarm water. One of our favorite gentle cleansers is the Clarisonic Pore & Blemish Gel Cleanser. This salicylic acid cleanser works to gently cleanse the skin of pore-clogging impurities without over-drying. Pair it with the Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift to give your acne-prone skin the gentle yet deep cleanse it deserves daily.
2. SHAMPOO REGULARLY.
Shampoo and acne may be on completely different plains in your mind, but they can be connected. If you have acne around your hairline, the problem could be with how you’re washing your hair. The ADD suggests switching to shampooing every single day.
3. HANDS OFF.
It may seem like a quick fix, but picking and squeezing blemishes can cause more harm than good, causing infections and scarring. If you must touch your face, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands first to remove any acne-causing bacteria.
4. AVOID IRRITANTS.
In some cases, acne can be caused by the products you routinely use. This is why it’s prudent to steer clear of products that may irritate your skin. While you’re at it, look for ones that are labeled non-comedogenic, which means they are less likely to clog pores—the catalyst for any acne breakout.
5. WATCH WHAT COMES INTO CONTACT WITH YOUR SKIN.
Everything that touches your skin can impact your complexion. It’s a good practice to ensure your phone is wiped down before making a phone call, to keep linens and towels routinely washed at home, and to avoid resting your hands on your face.
6. CONSULT A DERMATOLOGIST.
When nothing seems to be working for your acne, the AAD says to seek out a dermatologist. Just because acne can last long beyond the age of 19, doesn’t mean there aren’t effective plans of action for adults.
In need of some more acne-fighting tips? Then check out these skin cleansing tricks from our friends over at Clarisonic!