Is Adult Acne Really an Epidemic?

Woman displaying the difference acne vs. flawless skin can make

A 2018 review of studies in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology reported a significant increase in adult acne—an issue overwhelmingly impacting women. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that adult acne now affects up to 15 percent of adult females. One dermatologist referred to the increase as one of “epidemic proportions.”

One thing is certain from these studies: if you’re an adult woman struggling with breakouts, you’re not alone. For those seeking adult acne treatments in the DC area, there are multiple ways to find relief and feel comfortable in your own skin. In this blog post, I’ll provide evidence of the “epidemic” increase and describe various popular treatments that can minimize adult acne.

Adolescent vs. Adult Acne

Although adults and teens both struggle with blemishes, the appearance of breakouts can be different. A few general trends are:

  • Adolescent acne: sits closer to the skin’s surface and appears on the upper half of the face
  • Adult acne: lies deeper (such as with cysts under the skin) and appears on the lower half of the face

While placement and patterns may change, the causes are often the same. Fluctuating hormone levels cause breakouts in people of all ages. These hormone-related issues are especially prevalent in those going through puberty or perimenopause.

Use of birth control can also affect hormone regulation and stimulate acne issues. Heavy makeup is another common culprit for sensitive, irritated skin.

Struggles With Stigma

Society often says only teenagers experience acne issues. Many women, expecting to have clear, blemish-free skin after high school, feel embarrassed when breakouts return or persist as a problem. Acne stigma can powerfully affect one’s self-esteem and mental health. In a world full of social media and reality TV stars, the pressure to look “perfect” is haunting and harmful.

Women often blame their breakouts on a bad diet or exercise routine. And although the truth is that adult acne involves many factors beyond our control, this self-blame cycle is damaging. Because patients with acne are 23% more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, many dermatologists are taking action. Some practices now offer treatment plans that incorporate therapy care.

Self-confidence is closely linked to our appearance. It is important not to underestimate how adult acne can affect a person’s physical and mental health.

Adult Acne Treatment

Fortunately, there is hope for adult acne sufferers. There are multiple treatments available to address acne and acne scarring. A few popular options at our practice include:


  • Chemical peels: remove dead skin cells and facilitate new growth to help create fresh, blemish-free skin
  • Laser resurfacing: uses light to penetrate deep into the skin layers, stimulating skin renewal and killing pimple bacteria

Skin Care Products

  • Hylunia Facial Cleansing Gel: gently removes makeup without irritating skin, cleaning deep into the pores to fight acne and cleanse the skin
  • SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream: full of hyaluronic acid and green tea, this glycolic-free moisturizer soothes and hydrates the skin without clogging pores

It is important to regularly see a dermatologist to help keep blemishes in check. By fighting acne and its source and soothing redness and irritation, patients can heal their skin and feel confident in their appearance.

Adult acne might affect more people than ever, but proper skin care can help solve these problems. To learn more about your own adult acne treatment options from a highly respected dermatologist in DC, request a consultation online or call the practice at (202) 393-7546.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.