More than Acne – Medical Conditions That Can Cause Acne in Adults

As an adult, you expect to no longer have acne, however, many adults unfortunately continue to suffer from acne beyond their teenage years. If you are an adult suffering from acne, you do need to consider that is not caused by the same skin issues that causes teenage acne. Adult acne can be a sign that there is something more serious going on in your body.

Women know that hormonal imbalances can cause many symptoms, so it should not come as a surprise that these imbalances can also cause acne.  Pregnancy is a hormonal roll coaster for most women, which is why some women notice that they begin to break out in their second and third trimester as well as post-delivery. And since during menopause the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones change, women may also experience short bouts of acne during this time. But how do you know if your acne is caused by a more serious hormonal imbalance? If you are experiencing acne for long periods of time and have other symptoms of a hormonal imbalance (such as sweating, painful periods, or no periods), you may want to ask your doctor about Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the leading factors in adult acne in women. Typically, women in their 30s and 40s are affected by PCOS which is caused by low insulin levels and high estrogen levels. Women who have PCOS and are overweight, tend to have severe acne breakouts on their face.

If you are suffering from large patches of painful acne, you will want to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to get checked out for a bacterial infection such as Gram-negative folliculitis. Gram-negative folliculitis is a disorder that resembles acne but is caused by a bacterial infection.

Unfortunately, your genetics can also determine if you have any adult acne. If either of your parents are prone to acne breakouts, that may be a reason why you are too. While there is not an “acne gene” that can get passed down, some studies have shown that if your mother had acne at any point in her life, your chances are high that you will also have acne.

If you are struggling with acne as an adult, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists to go over your treatment options. Over the counter medications may be effective, but a trip to the dermatologist can help you to help narrow down the cause of your acne and provide you with more powerful treatment options.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.