July 13


Medical Conditions That can Lead to Acne in Adults

By James

July 13, 2018

Acne, Pyoderma Faciale, Stress

xAcne vulgaris has been known to afflict men and women, even in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. The interesting part is that many of these sufferers have never had acne in their teenage years. Adult acne can go through different stages like the formation of whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, cysts and pimples or zits.

Acne is a complex medical condition caused by four factors:

  • hormones,
  • inflammation,
  • bacteria, and
  • dead skin cells that clog pores,

Triggers include stress, poor sleep, and diet. For some people, chocolate really does cause breakouts; for others, it’s greasy foods or a diet heavy in dairy contents.

Medical Conditions That Cause Acne In Adults

Hormonal Imbalance

Many women undergo a lot of hormonal disruption as they go through pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, and some of these women tend to breakout excessively post delivery or in their second and third trimester of pregnancy when the sebaceous glands go into an overdrive.

This is also the time to lose a lot of hair, gain weight and undergo many different changes in the body. It is important to have these issues checked out by specialists. Starting or stopping contraceptives can also lead to adult acne, and menopause-related changes in the levels of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones can sometimes give rise to acne.

Medication or Drugs

Check your medicine cabinet and tread particularly carefully with prescriptions that emphasize steroids, such as prednisone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, etc…

These types of drugs aggravate and cause acne. Also, lithium, lithium chloride, and certain forms of iodine can contribute to acne breakouts. Unfortunately, many of these medications are given for serious conditions, and there are few available substitutes.

If you use such medications, keep an open line of communication with your doctor, and make sure he’s aware of your concerns.

Medicines containing Iodine, Steroids increases the levels of corticosteroids in the blood and cause breakouts all across the face, neck, and back.

Epilepsy medication is taken to keep seizures at bay, or anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicines can all result in severe acne on the face, neck, and back.

Circulatory Issues

Blood circulatory problems are often seen in smokers and that can be a common cause of acne. The nicotine in cigarettes contains carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which tend to damage the lungs and heart, disrupting normal circulation in the process. Healthy blood is needed to keep away the impurities and fights skin blemishes.

Makeup and Anti-aging Creams

Many of these makeups contain retinol, which stimulates cell turnover and increases the number of acne-like lesions. Too much turnover can cause a jam in the skin layers, and experts warn that many people find retinol to be a skin irritant.

Anti-aging creams tend to be oily, and as, such use sparingly, and ideally, under a dermatologist’s instruction.

Since makeup brushes collect bacteria and yeast, clean them once a week with soap and water, and washing that foundation and powder off every night is important, too.  Using exfoliating wipes and pads, which are gentle but remove more dead skin than plain-old soap does is recommended.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS

A polycystic ovarian syndrome is caused by poor insulin levels and high estrogen levels and affects thousands of women in their 30s and 40s.

In overweight women with PCOS, the acne is even worse and can cause severe breakouts on the chin, around the mouth and cheeks. acne treatment for PCOS includes prolonged use of antibiotics, dietary changes and use of progesterone or hormone therapy.

Pyoderma Faciale

This type of acne is seen in women between 20-40 years and is usually accompanied by painful nodules and front neck and jaw-line acne. Although the acne disappears within a year, it could lead to permanent and extensive scarring in its wake.

Gram-Negative Folliculitis

Gram-negative folliculitis is a medical condition that causes acne in adult men and women. It is termed so because of the type of bacteria causing it, which is characterized by severe pustules and cysts along the neck and jaw that can also spread and covers a large area of the skin. The treatment for this is usually, a long-term use of antibiotics.


It doesn’t help that dandruff often causes acne, typically in the form of tiny pimples lining the scalp, but using shampoo designed to treat dandruff can be helpful.


Stress triggers heightened levels of androgens, hormones that contribute to adult acne breakouts. Stress also releases cortisol and other adrenal steroids that can stimulate the sebaceous glands and lead to more flare-ups.

Although stress doesn’t always cause new cases of acne, it tends to worsen matters in those already struggling with the condition. Ensure to get enough sleep, and allocate some time each day to relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Include some exercise, too. Research suggests exercise helps reduce stress.

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