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Why Am I Still Getting Acne As an Adult?

Aug 01, 2023
Why Am I Still Getting Acne As an Adult?
Are you frustrated with pesky adult acne that just won't go away? Read on to discover the reasons behind those stubborn breakouts and learn effective strategies to achieve clearer skin.

Acne, a skin condition commonly associated with adolescence, can be an unwelcome surprise when it continues to persist into adulthood. While we may have hoped to leave our acne woes behind in our teenage years, it's not uncommon for adults to experience breakouts well into their 20s, 30s, and beyond. 

At Limmer Dermatology in San Antonio, Texas, our expert dermatologists offer the most effective solutions for acne and acne scars at any age. From prescription medications and medical-grade skincare to blue light therapy and laser procedures, there’s a treatment plan for everyone. 

In the meantime, join us as we delve into the reasons why acne can stick around even in adulthood and explore effective strategies for managing and preventing those pesky pimples.

Hormonal imbalances 

Hormonal fluctuations play a significant role in acne development, and they don't simply vanish once we reach adulthood. Various factors can trigger hormonal imbalances, such as the following:

Menstrual cycle 

During the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in women can result in breakouts before or during their period. The increased sebum production and clogged pores can lead to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Understanding these fluctuations can aid in managing and reducing their impact on the skin.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can cause elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) in women. These hormonal imbalances may contribute to acne development, along with other symptoms, such as irregular periods and excessive hair growth.


Pregnancy is a time of significant hormonal changes, which can result in acne flare-ups for some women. The fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy can stimulate the sebaceous glands, which can lead to increased oil production and the development of acne.


If stress levels are high, this can disrupt hormone levels in the body, which can exacerbate acne. The stress hormone cortisol, in particular, can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which can lead to increased acne breakouts. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and self-care can help reduce acne symptoms.

Lifestyle and skincare habits 

As adults, our lifestyle and skincare habits can also influence the development of acne:


Diet can play a role in acne development, as consuming excessive sugary or high-glycemic foods as well as dairy products can worsen acne symptoms for certain individuals. These foods can increase insulin levels and trigger inflammation, which can contribute to acne breakouts. Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet may help reduce acne and support overall skin health.


Certain makeup products and skincare items can clog pores and contribute to acne formation. Look for non-comedogenic products that won't block your pores.


Maintaining clean skin is important, but over-cleansing or using harsh products can actually have a negative impact on acne. Over-cleansing can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can cause it to produce more oil to compensate. This can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts. It's important to strike a balance by using gentle cleansers and avoiding excessive scrubbing or harsh ingredients.

Prevention and management 

While adult acne can be frustrating, there are effective ways to manage and prevent breakouts:

Establish a gentle skincare routine 

Cleanse your face twice a day using a mild cleanser and follow up with a non-comedogenic moisturizer. Avoid scrubbing your skin too vigorously.

Choose the right products

Look for skincare products that are labeled as non-comedogenic or oil-free. Avoid heavy makeup and opt for mineral-based or water-based cosmetics.

Hands off 

Resist the urge to pick, pop, or touch your pimples, as this can worsen inflammation and lead to scarring.

Manage stress

Find stress-reducing activities that work for you, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

Balanced diet

Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit your consumption of sugary and high-glycemic foods.

Professional advice 

If your acne persists or is severe, consult with our team. We can give you a thorough evaluation and offer personalized treatment options to help you get clear skin.

While it can be disheartening to deal with adult acne, it's essential to remember that you're not alone, and there are effective ways to manage and prevent breakouts. By understanding the underlying causes of acne in adulthood and implementing appropriate skincare and lifestyle changes, you can take charge of your skin health and embrace a clearer complexion.

If you’re struggling with acne, we can help. To learn more, call 210-496-9929 or request an appointment online with Limmer Dermatology today.