Adult Acne Causes, Treatments, Types of Acne, & More

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It’s not fair. Just when you’ve successfully navigated the ravages of adolescence on your adult acne.

The Problem

The Adult acne is a very common problem, but an under-recognized one,” says Jeffrey Weinberg, MD, director of clinical research at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York. “Acne can occur later in life. It can be one or both types. People think it doesn’t happen in adults, but it does.”

At the teen acne are caused by a combination of several factors: hormones leading to excess oil secretion, faulty closing of the hair duct, and infection. Gentle face washing twice a day is much better than more frequent washing.

The Solution

When adult acne is treated in a doctor’s office it’s called “acne surgery”. When done at home, it’s called squeezing pimples. It gets immediate results — but when you squeeze pimples at home, you are begging for infection and scars. And squeezing or picking at pimples is a great way to get your acne to spread. Don’t do it! Doctors use a special sterile instrument to prevent scarring, infection, and acne spread.

Or you can check out the benzoyl peroxide. But it would be best to see a doctor to prevent possible acne scarring.”

The biggest breakthrough in acne treatment has been the development of topical retinoic acid, a form of acne treatments target the various causes of acne. They’re often used in combination. These acne treatments include:

One caveat: Accutane and Sotret can cause birth defects. Women who opt for this treatment must use foolproof birth control. Despite this and other concerns, these drugs are the treatment of choice for severe acne.

Originally published August 2003.
Medically updated June 2006.