There are many things I do not miss from my teenage years. My 2 hour double of science class last thing on a Friday, curfews, athletics day, exams, bell bottom jeans or my face covered in breakouts. Unfortunately for some acne lingers or even starts in their adults years and can be soul breaking.

Can adults get acne?

Yes, adults get acne. So many adults continue to get acne well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. It is even possible to get acne for the first time as an adult. Dermatologists call this “adult-onset acne.” It is most common among women going through menopause.

Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. If you’re getting acne as an adult, it is likely due to one or more of the following reasons:

Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. If you’re getting acne as an adult, it is likely due to one or more of the following reasons:

Fluctuating hormone levels

An imbalance can lead to breakouts. Women often experience fluctuating hormones:

  • Around their periods
  • During pregnancy, pre-menopause, and menopause
  • After discontinuing (or starting) birth control pills


Researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens (a type of hormone). These hormones stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. This explains why acne can be an ongoing problem when we find ourselves under constant stress.

Family History

Does a close blood relative, such as a parent, brother, or sister have acne? Studies suggest that some people may have a genetic predisposition for acne. People who have this predisposition seem more likely to get adult acne.

Hair and skin products

If you have adult acne, you should read the labels on your skin care and hair care products. Make sure that you see one of the following terms on every container: Non-comedogenic, Non-acnegenic, Oil-free, Won’t clog pores.

These products are least likely to cause acne.

Medication side effects

Acne is a side effect of some medicines. If you suspect that a medicine is triggering your acne or making it worse, continue taking the medicine — but talk with the doctor who prescribed it. Ask if acne is a possible side effect. If acne is a possible side effect, ask if you can take a different medicine. If you cannot take another medicine, you may want to do treatments that can help control the acne.

Undiagnosed medical condition

Sometimes, acne is a sign of an underlying medical condition. Once the medical condition is diagnosed and treated, the acne often clears.

Treatment available for adult acne at Dermology

  • BBL AcneTM: Broad Based Light (BBL™) has now proven to be helpful in the treatment of acne. In many cases, this offers an alternative to oral medications such as Accutane or long-term antibiotics. The shorter wavelengths of BBL™, in the blue-light spectrum, attack p-acnebacteria on the surface and in the sebaceous gland.
  • Chemical Peels: We have various chemical peels to treat acne and will be recommended during your consultation.

The following tips can help you get started.

  1. Give an acne treatment at least 4 weeks to work. Using a new acne product every few days may seem useful, but that approach can worsen acne. Acne treatment needs time to work. Using a different product every few days can also irritate your skin, causing new breakouts.
  2. Attack the different causes of acne.  This approach can help attack the different causes of acne. Bacteria, clogged pores, oil, and inflammation can all cause acne. Benzoyl peroxide decreases  acnesbacteria | Retinoids, unclog pores and reduce oiliness | Salicylic acid eases inflammation and unclogs pores.
  3. Wash your face twice a day and when you’re sweaty. Acne-prone skin is sensitive. Washing more than twice a day can irritate your skin, making acne worse.
  4. Clean Hands on Clean Skin! Don’t touch your face if you don’t have to.
  5. Stop scrubbing your face and other acne-prone skin. If your skin feels greasy, dirty, or grimy, you may be tempted to scrub it clean. Don’t! Scrubbing can irritate acne-prone skin, which worsens acne.
  6. Use good home care:  To choose skin care products and cosmetics that doesn’t cause acne.
  7. Resist touching, picking, and popping your acne. Popping a pimple may seem like the fastest way to clear it, but popping it can actually make things worse. Every time you touch, pick, or pop, you can worsen acne.
  8. Spread acne medication on all acne-prone skin, not just your blemishes. Applying a thin layer on your acne-prone skin helps treat existing acne and prevent new breakouts
  9. .Wash your pillowcases, hats, and other things that touch your acne-prone skin. Dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt will build up on these surfaces, which can clog your pores. Washing what touches your acne-prone skin can prevent this.Changing your sheets every week and your pillowcase 2 or 3 times a week can make a difference.
  10. Enlist a professional’s help.  With today’s acne treatments virtually every case of acne can be cleared. A professional can tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs.

Speak to one of our skin experts today

Call us on 011 883 1031 or send a WhatsApp message to 076 424 8809 to speak to one of our skin experts.

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