What Causes Adult Acne
Acne is a condition of the sebaceous glands, regardless of your age the reason is the same. These glands are attached to your hair follicles and produce an oily substance called sebum. An acne lesion forms when a hair follicle becomes plugged with sebum and dead cells. The cause of the acne in the sebaceous glands are believed to be largely due to changes in levels of androgenic or male hormones in the body. This is a circumstance usually associated with the growth and development that occurs between the ages of 12 and 21.
Therefore, for acne that occurs for the first time during adulthood the underlying causes could be totally different and are worth a serious look.
Acne that appears after the age of 25 to 30 years, is believed to be due to one of the following reasons:
1. Recurrence of acne that cleared up after adolescence
2. Flare-up of acne after a period of relative quiet. For example, during pregnancy
3. Acne that appears for the first time in a person who has never previously had acne.
Acne that appears for the first time in adulthood should be examined by a dermatologist who can investigate the underlying cause.
Some causes of adult acne are:
Medication: Some medications that can induce acne include anabolic steroids (sometimes used illegally by athletes to “bulk up”), some anti-epileptic medications, the anti-tuberculosis drugs isoniazid and rifampin, lithium and iodine-containing medications.
Chronic physical pressure on the skin: Chafing from the straps of a backpack or tucking a violin between the jaw and chin can cause chronic physical pressure on the skin and may induce a condition known as acne mechanica.
Chlorinated industrial chemicals: These may induce the occupational skin disorder known as chloracne.
Metabolic conditions: Changes in the hormonal balance, such as those brought about by pregnancy, menstruation or hormonal abnormalities can often induce acne.
It is also important to know that some lesions which appear to be acne are not acne at all. One skin condition that resembles acne is folliculitis, which occurs when the hair follicles become infected and inflamed. Folliculitis requires a totally different treatment than acne.
Acne that occurs in adulthood may be difficult to treat if there are multiple recurrences. Some patients with severe recurrent acne have undergone repeated courses of treatment with the potent systemic drug isotretinoin.
Since adult acne may be difficult to treat, acne that appears for the first time in adulthood should be examined and treated by a dermatologist.