Adult acne , What causes it?, Why it happens and how we can treat it

Adult acne , What causes it?, Why it happens and how we can treat it

Adult acne blog post


Beauty | Adult acne , What causes it?, Why it happens and how we can treat it!




Adult acne can be a tricky one, sometimes it can be a continuation of teenage acne but also it can start for the first time in adulthood. It can be caused by lots of factors including stress, genetics, hormonal changes, UV light, how our skin exfoliates itself naturally and also the products we use. 


So where is acne usually present? 

It is mostly common found on our face but can also be found on our backs and chest. One of the hardest questions is...


what causes acne? Why do we get it and how can we treat it? 

Quite simply acne occurs when the sebaceous gland (our oil production) within our dermis (base layer of our skin) produces too much sebum (oil). Sometimes the sebum that is produced can be thicker than normal causing it to get stuck in the hair follicle.

For some of us our skin doesn't always exfoliate naturally the way it should do, this is usually every 28 days our skin cells shed and renew, so combination of the thicker sebum and the dead skin cells cause blockages in the follicle and in turn produces blackheads, whiteheads, papules (hard red spots) and pustules (white pus filled, inflamed spots).


The production of the white pustules is our immune system fighting the bacteria in the follicle by pushing it out and creating a white pus filled spot. 

Blackheads and whiteheads do we know what they are? What the difference is and how they are formed? 

Blackheads are caused by the oxidation of melanin (the pigment that gives us a tan) along with the dead skin cells and excess sebum making the blocked pore appear black. 

Whiteheads are a combination of dead skin cells and sebum with a closed layer of skin over the top. These usually don't go on their own and are difficult to remove. I would always recommend these to be removed professionally to avoid scarring on your skin. 

Blackheads and whiteheads are classed as non inflammatory acne and usually take around 8 weeks to form. If your immune system is working correctly these blocked pores will turn into papules or pustules that will disappear in a few days. In the case they don't go then you can have them removed professionally with a professional facial treatment including extraction. 


So let's talk about what factors can cause or trigger adult acne? 

The working of our desquamation system (our natural exfoliation system) For most of us our skin naturally exfoliates itself every 28 days, shedding the dead skin cells and making new ones. In some cases this doesn't always happen for us all and as we get older our skin cell turnover takes longer. If your skin isn't naturally exfoliating like it should be then some of the common signs can be ingrowing hairs, dry skin, thicker skin and keratosis pilaris ( rough patches and tiny bumps) mainly appearing on the upper arms, thighs and cheeks. To help correct your natural exfoliating system you need to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis 2/3 times a week. 

TIP- for an acne skin i would recommend using an exfoliator that contains acids (salicylic acid, lactic acid or fruit enzymes) to help break down the glue that holds the dead skin cells together. These types of exfoliators are more gentle to the skin rather than an exfoliator with grains as these can irritate your acne. 



The genes we inherit from our parents can sometimes dictate whether or not we develop acne. If your parent(s) suffered with acne as a teen or adult the chances are you could develop acne yourself, this isn't always the case but usually a high chance of developing it so look after your skin at the start of puberty as this is usually when it triggers due to the change in our hormones. 


Stress can have a huge impact on our bodies and it can massively affect our skin. When we get stressed there is an increase in the generation of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates lots of processes throughout our body, including how the immune system responds. An overproduction of this hormone can cause inflammation and irritation in the skin which in return can cause breakouts in your skin. 


TIP using a combination of the Planthaya CBD products can help to reduce your stress levels and give you back that harmony in your life. 

Boost Capsules in the morning 

Balance Drops before bed 

Soothe Balm throughout the day keeping you calm. 


UV Light 

Who doesn't love a bit of sunshine on their skin? Unfortunately UVA/UVB rays from the sun have a huge impact on your skin. They impair the barrier and kill the good bacteria in your skin. It also increases the oil production, leading to breakouts of papules and pustules and irritated skin. Most of us are under the impression that the sun is good for our skin and clears up acne. Don't get me wrong, the Vitamin D that we receive from the sun is amazing for us but you must protect your skin from sun exposure. Initially your skin will clear up due to the skin drying it out but long term this will only make your acne worse and damage your skin. 

TIP wear your SPF even in the winter, yes the UVA and UVB rays are still as strong in the winter. I would always recommend a minimum of SPF 30. 

Nimue SPF 40/50 is a personal favourite to add to your skincare routine.



Always make sure that the products you are using are suitable for your skin especially if you are suffering with acne. When it comes to make-up, make sure that you are checking expiry dates and don't use products past these dates as this can cause irritation to your skin and possibly cause breakouts. Try not to overload your skin with makeup if you're suffering an acne flare up as this will make the skin worse and unable to breathe properly. Clean your makeup brushes on a weekly basis, brush harbour bacteria, so it is vital that you wash them to avoid breakouts. A great product I use to wash my brushes is called isoclean. I will add a link below for you. This amazing product dissolves the build up of makeup in your brushes without damaging them. 

ISOCLEAN Makeup Brush Cleaner - at BEAUTY BAY 


Is acne here for the long run? 

Acne can be a tough one to treat. For some of us we grow out of it by the end of puberty and some of us we have it longer. Acne can come and go throughout our life due to changes in your life or hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause. It can be treated medically through your GP or dermatologist, diet, skincare products and lifestyle. It is good to keep a journal of what triggers your acne flare up for example your diet or stressful situations, time of the month and then you can look at the best possible way to treat your acne. If you find any common patterns of triggers then i would try eliminating these out of your life and learn how to maintain your acne. Most of the time acne settles down for most of us once you have educated yourself on what causes it and how to treat it. 



My final top tip for acne 
Find what works for you, what works for one person may not always work for your skin. Do you research and educate yourself. I would recommend having a thorough skin consultation with a trained skin specialist. Have a look at your diet, stress levels, lifestyle and also drink plenty of water to flush the toxins out of your body giving you glowing skin. 

For a free skin consultation and advice you can contact me

 Emily x


 I'm Emily a bContributor emily skincareeauty salon owner with over 17 years in the beauty industry. I specialise in advanced skincare, micro skin needling and semi-permanent makeup. I am extremely passionate about my work and love making my clients look and feel amazing




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