Adult Acne — Causes and Cures

What causes this condition that seems to chip away at the very foundations of self esteem with an almost malevolent intent? The myth is that once teenagers cross the threshold from adolescence into adulthood, the anguish caused by acne will be permanently left behind. The reality is that there is no guarantee that adulthood will offer the safe, acne-free haven that so many teens long for. Statistics indicate that 25% of the male population is plagued at some point by adult acne, while 50% of females will similarly find themselves contending with the condition as adults.

It seems that no one is exempt. Infant acne can appear on the faces babies who are only three or four weeks old, or even on the faces of newborns. Since so many are afflicted — adult and child alike — there’s an obvious need for real information on acne skin care that cuts through all the myths and separates fact from fiction.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

Sebum is the natural oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands. For reasons that aren’t fully understood, the pores of the skin can become plugged with sebum, and once plugged, bacteria and dead cells can become trapped in the pores, resulting in the lesions common to acne. Acne can be defined as a condition describing blocked skin pores that result in lesions.

The most common lesions are called comedones. There are two basic varieties of comedones: ‘white heads’ and ‘black heads’. A white head is an occluded pore that has begun to bulge outward from the skin due to dead skin cells, bacteria, and other contaminants that have become trapped inside. This bulging dome shape often assumes a white appearance. Black heads are simply comedones that have opened, exposing the dark follicle mass inside. Acne comedones are often referred to colloquially as «zits» or «pimples.»

Microcomedones are a less common form of acne lesion, sometimes referred to as papules. These are basically small comedones that form from localized cellular reactions to the processes that cause acne. They usually occur in clusters and are sometimes too small to see. They can be felt as a series of little bumps along the skin surface.

In more severe forms of acne, cysts, pustules and nodules and can form.

A pustule is like a normal comedone, but larger due to a higher amount of dead white cells, or pus, trapped inside the plugged sebaceous follicle.

Nodules are a more severe form of papules, extending deeper into the skin tissue and resulting in large raised legions that are usually inflamed and painful to touch.

Finally, cysts are very large fluid filled sacs that can result from pustules or nodules.

Though none of these forms of acne are dangerous or life threatening, they can leave scars and are sometimes very disfiguring.

What causes acne? This is a question that scientists and doctors still haven’t been able to completely agree upon. Today, most theories seem to point to a combination of factors that include genetics, hormone changes, and stress. For years it was thought that diet was a strong component to acne, but most evidence today suggests that hormones and stress are more likely to be the culprits.

Almost everyone will have some form of acne in their lives. Most people suffer from outbreaks of acne during their teenage years. These outbreaks are associated with hormone changes that occur during puberty. It is equally common to men and women, and usually outbreaks appear on the face. However, acne can strike at any stage in adult life, and outbreaks can appear not only on the face, but on the back, neck, arms and legs.

The good news is that the situation regarding acne and acne skin care is by no means hopeless. Acne treatment exists. And while it might not be realistic to expect some sort of magical acne cure, there are ways to effectively tackle the problem. Once you can find easy to implement acne tips and information at websites like, there’s a good possibility you’ll be able to minimize your breakouts or avoid them altogether.