Top 10 Triggers Of Acne In Adults… Beware!

Stepping into adulthood brings in its set of responsibilities and challenges but at least doesn’t inundate our face with embarrassing red protrusions that call for jeering looks.

One of the best things about bidding adieu to those carefree teenage years is the permanent relief from irritating pimples and acne, or at least we like to think/hope so. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed enough to have a blemish-free face in our 20’s or 30’s.

You may be cribbing and trying all sorts of acne relief ointments to get rid of sudden uninvited zits – which may or may not be proving to be a viable solution – but have you ever paused for a moment and thought about the reasons behind adult acne?

Here we are today to acquaint you on the causes of acne in adults. Adult acne mystery unlocked!


When you are under stress, your body produces the stress hormone cortisol to deal with it. Sometimes, a little amount of testosterone (male hormone) leaks out during the process and accelerates the production of oil through oil glands, thereby causing breakouts on the skin surface.

High-carb and/or sugar-rich diet OR a sudden change in diet.

Research has shown that carbohydrate-rich foods having a high glycemic index, like sugary snacks, soda, and junk food, aid the production and severity of acne. So if you have been harping on all that tempting high-carb diet, it is time to cut them out of your life.

Hair styling products

Acne caused by hair styling products is called pomade acne. Some amount of hairstyling products/chemicals may seep into your forehead and clog the pores. These clogged pores then become inflamed and red and may be accompanied by pus, ultimately giving rise to blackheads and/or whiteheads.

And some bad news for girls – those cute bangs may worsen the situation by bringing those chemical laden hairstyling products right against the forehead.

Hormonal changes

Change in hormones, especially prior to menstrual cycle, gives rise to painful cystic acne in and around the chin, back or neck areas. I so feel ya, woman!

Skincare products

Switching to new skincare products or welcoming a new entrant to your skincare regime without letting it adjust to your skin eventually, poses to be a challenge to your skin. All these products laden with active ingredients and preservatives cause breakouts and may deteriorate your skin condition.

Certain medications

Dr. Michelle Palm, MD, MBA, Director of Art Of Skin in Solana Beach, California, says that certain medications, especially inhaled, topical, or anabolic steroids, like cortisone, can cause breakouts. She advises to discontinue such medications with immediate effect to let the acne heal.

Cell phones

Wait, what?! Before you strangle me for speaking against our good ole friend, let me tell you that our cell phones are exposed to bacteria all day long, thanks to our obsession of carrying them everywhere we go. Holding our cell phones close to our face (while taking a call) transfers this bacteria to our facial skin and its prolonged exposure generates heat and moisture in the area of contact. These conditions make for a suitable environment for the bacteria to thrive. This, in turn, causes acne and leaves you wondering on who the hell leaves those red zits on your face while you are asleep.


If you are on the right track and not doing anything to invite acne, then you may want to thank your parents for those stubborn breakouts. Genetics also has a part to play in such cases and irrespective of your clean eating and healthy lifestyle, zits may never want to leave your side. Acnes are loyal!

Traveling and pollution

A change in the weather, humidity or even water, accompanied by pollution, triggers acne. Your skin is unable to adjust to these changes immediately and shows its wrath in the form of zits.

Over cleansing, sunscreen, and makeup remover.

Makeup removers are pore-clogging cosmetics that combine with your natural skin oil and result in breakouts. Sometimes, it is not the product that is the culprit, but its application that ruins your skin. Not removing the makeup thoroughly lets the makeup, oil, and dirt build-up to get trapped into the skin, which in turn surfaces in the form of acne.

Sunscreens that include zinc oxide and titanium oxide may accelerate sweating beneath their layer, thereby causing those ugly breakouts.

Overcleansing (cleansing more than twice a day) or intense cleansing can dry out your skin and make way for acne in adults.