Why is my skin still breaking OUT? I’m not a teenager!


Like most people, you may have thought that when you left your teen years behind, you were also leaving acne behind. Maybe in your twenties, and you were annoyed to find that wasn’t the case. Certainly, by your thirties, you’d be done with it? No? Seriously, it can’t persist into your forties, right? It can. And it does.

It turns out, no one is immune to breakouts at any age. Your hormones start to level out in your twenties, and that should mean acne levels out too, but that’s not always the case. For many, it continues well into mid-life and even beyond. Let’s look at some of the reasons you’re breaking out.

Are you female? You are more likely to experience adult acne than guys your age.

It’s mostly about hormones. Periods, pregnancy, the pill (getting off it generally), all because hormone fluctuations that can trigger breakouts. And if you think you’re safe by the time you reach menopause, think again. Women going through menopause make up the largest percentage of adult acne sufferers. Beginning with perimenopause, estrogen levels drop, but androgen levels remain the same. The net effect is more androgen hormones. Without the estrogen to balance out the equation, sebum production increases. At the same time, cell metabolism is slowing. Increased sebum, plus sluggish cell turnover creates the perfect conditions for clogged pores and acne.

Stress is another trigger for acne, and let’s face it, adult life can get pretty stressful. Initially, the connection between stress and acne was anecdotal, but in recent years, studies have borne out the validity of the correlation. Sebum glands have a receptor for the stress hormone cortisol, and studies have shown that when stress ramps up, so does sebum and inflammation, which trigger flare-ups. Additionally, it’s thought that the psychological response to stress delays healing. There’s never been a better excuse for some me-time.

Genetics can also play a significant role in adult acne. In one study involving women over 25 experiencing acne, 67% reported a familial history of acne.

It could be cosmetic or skincare products that you’re using. A lot of products contain ingredients that clog pores, which could be triggering breakouts. Then, you may inadvertently make it worse by attempting to cover the breakout with more makeup. I always say, stop covering it up, clear it up!

Check your labels for common comedogenic culprits like D & C pigments, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, sulfated oils, coconut oil, cottonseed oil, isocetyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl myristate, cetearyl alcohol stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, acetylated lanolin, squalene, dimethicone, and octyl palmitate. Even some acne treatments contain some of these ingredients, so look closely at the labels. Look for water-based or mineral products and cleanse thoroughly to remove all traces of makeup every night. Or better yet, try going makeup-free!


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