When you reach your teenage years and your hormones are changing, many things happen to your body. Most of the changes are for the better, but there is one that can become a very annoying problem for both sexes, and that is acne. In most cases a few spots are fine, but for the unlucky few, acne can become a major problem that results in scarring. And for some people, the problem of acne can continue to affect them later in life.
It can be very annoying for someone to go through their teenage years with acne, watch it clear up, and then a few years later it starts to reappear again. For women, more than 50% will have at least one outbreak of acne once they are over 25, and although on its own it is not a health risk, it can in certain cases cause things like depression. People who have never had it as a teenager can get it when they are older, so no one is immune. For some reason that we have yet to understand, teenage acne usually covers the top half of the face, while adult acne tends to be more around the lower facial area.
What Are the Causes of Adult Acne?
In order to prevent the facial skin and the hair that grow on it from drying out, the sebaceous glands release a kind of oil. Nowadays most people don’t have hair on their face, especially women, but it is a genetic leftover from the days when we did have a lot of facial hair. Our sebaceous glands are located near the skin surface and are attached to hair follicles. Even if the hair follicle is no longer active, there is still the small hole remaining. These glands produce a substance called sebum, which is an oily liquid, and when it mixes with dead skin cells it can cause a blockage.
This blockage is one of the main causes of acne experienced by adults. When the blockage is near the surface of the skin, then bacteria can grow, and this is what causes the raised surface containing yellow puss called acne. If, on the other hand, the hair follicle is open to the air, it will oxidize and this will result in a blackhead.
Another main cause of adult acne is genetic. If someone in your family has suffered from it, there is a higher than a 50% chance that you will as well. Also, as it can appear at any time in your life, there is still a chance of an acne outbreak even if you are in your thirties.
Statistics show that the cases of adult acne is split 80% in women and 20% in men. The reason for this is that women’s hormones have a lot more up and down cycles during their life. The typical time this can happen is during their monthly period or during a pregnancy. Another problem that can result in acne and is quite common in women is polycystic ovary syndrome whose symptoms include ovarian cysts and weight gain.
One final thing that can cause adult acne is certain medications such as cortisone steroids, which is often used to treat autoimmune diseases such as arthritis. Having adult acne for most people is nothing more than an annoyance, but whether your acne is severe or not, your doctor can often offer advice to help keep the symptoms to a minimum.