No matter the age, acne can be really annoying and when it flares up during the adult years, it becomes downright embarrassing too. Acne can develop in your 30’s, 40’s or even 50’s. In some cases, it doesn’t develop during the teen years, but perks up in adult years instead. A number of causes have been implicated for adult-onset acne, some of which are mentioned below:


Estrogen and progesterone levels have been associated with acne flare-ups. Pregnancy, menopause, certain times of the menstrual cycle as well as changing birth control pills or IUDs have been positively implicated in acne breakouts.

Medical conditions 

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome also have hard-to-control acne. Dermatologists know which blood studies to conduct to rule out underlying medical conditions.


Most Indian cities have some levels of air pollution which leaves a thin layer of dirt on your delicate facial skin, resulting in clogged pores and acne breakouts.


Acne causing androgens increase during times of stress, resulting in stimulated oil glands, blocked pores and acne breakout.


Adult-onset acne can also be related to familial predispositions with more than one family member having it.


Being over-zealous in cleaning your face can result in the skin drying out and this causes it to produce more oil. Using facial cleansers with coarse grains can end up harming your skin, producing the equivalent effect of having microdermabrasion done on a daily basis. This worsens acne.

Medication side-effects 

The side effects of certain medications like steroid inhalers, birth control pills and testosterone can result in acne breakouts too. A visit to your dermatologist will tell you if your medications are causing acne.

Cosmetic products 

Some skin and hair products can result in blocked pores and stimulating excessive oil production. Ensure that your cosmetic products have labels that include words like ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘non-acnegenic’. And when it comes to moisturizers, you could opt for gel-based products.

However, do keep in mind that adult-onset acne is a treatable medical condition. Your dermatologist has a number of treatments available which could include prescription cleansers, moisturizers, topical medications and oral pills. Your

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The information provided in Dr. Dixit's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice. The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.