What Are The Causes of Adult Acne?

Many women still suffer from acne even after they become adults. Some continue to have acne well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. There are even some who get acne for the first time as an adult. 

There are several factors that cause adult acne and in this article, we will be talking about them. So, if you are getting acne as an adult, keep reading!

1. What are the causes of acne?

Excessive oil production

Adult women tend to have more sebum than when they were adolescents due to fluctuations in female hormones. Overlapping irregular lifestyles such as an imbalanced diet, stress, fatigue, and lack of sleep, can change the female hormone balance and lead to excess sebum secretion, which can trigger acne.

Pore inflammation

Sebum secreted in large quantities can become clogged in narrow pores. And when indigenous bacteria in the skin enter and proliferate, they cause inflammation and are pushed up by the clogged sebum. As a result, pimples appear on your face.

As the inflammation in the pores worsens, the pimples become more noticeable and painful. Progressing to this state often causes damage to the deep layers of the skin, resulting in scars.


Known as acne-causing bacteria is an indigenous bacterium called acne. Acne bacteria often lurk in the pores and multiply on waste products such as sebum. For this reason, if the pores are clogged with waste products, acne bacteria grow abnormally and cause inflammation.

2. Mechanisms when acne is formed

Adult acne caused by excessive sebum is slightly different from the ones you get during puberty. Adult acne is mainly caused by dry skin, stress, lack of sleep, irregular menstruation, and fatigue. If your skin is dry, old dead skin cells can’t peel off well, and they accumulate and block the pores. 

When sebum and bacteria are clogged in a lard-like mass, it becomes a “comedo,” causing acne. When it worsens, acne bacteria, which prefer sebum, grow and eventually become acne, causing inflammation and reddening around the pores.

3. What causes severe red acne?

When acne is first formed, its color is white. Then, black acne with sebum oxidized from white acne is formed. Finally, if the inflammation in the pores becomes severe, not only will the skin swell up, but also the whole acne will turn red. This is what we call “red acne.” If the inflammation worsens and pus accumulates in the pores, the pus is pushed out of the pores and the acne turns yellowish as a whole. 

There are several causes of worsening inflammation, including excessive sebum secretion, stress, bad eating habits, and before and after menstruation.

4. What makes acne worse when you get sweat?

After exercise, neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, are excessively activated, causing itching, redness, and skin inflammation. 

If you leave it with sweat which contains salt, germs are easy to propagate, and it is easy to cause acne and rough skin. Moisture inside the skin is lost due to ultraviolet damage and evaporation of sweat, making it easier to dry and causing skin problems. Therefore, even if you feel that your skin is moist with sweat or sebum, it’s important to keep it moist.


Adult acne is usually caused by your own lifestyle. An unhealthy and imbalanced diet, stress, and lack of sleep easily expose you to adult acne. Before seeking treatment, it’s important to know what caused your acne first. 

In our next article, we will tackle different acne treatments you can explore.