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10 Unexpected Causes Of Adult Acne

Adult Acne: What causes acne and how can I avoid it?

Acne was meant to be a teenage problem only, right? Unfortunately, nearly 50 percent of women will suffer from acne at some point in their adult lives, with over half of women being in their 20s and up to 35 percent of women in their 30s experiencing some form of acne.

Skin is a sensitive issue. When it's behaving badly it can have a negative effect on our self-esteem and mood. We’re doing all the right things, so why won’t it let up?

Usually, skin issues can be put down to hormones or the overproduction of oil. But, there are actually many factors that could be contributing to your skin problem. Fear not though, because the team here at Cel have consolidated a list of 10 unexpected causes of acne on the face and body (and how to help it)!

1. Not Enough Sleep

woman sleep

Can lack of sleep cause acne? Yes! Not enough sleep is the biggest contributor to tired, spot-prone skin, and can even speed up the aging process. When we’re overtired, our body is exposed to higher levels of the cortisol hormone, which can trigger pimples. Make getting your 8 hours a priority, and it will help your skin radiate naturally.

2. Cotton Pillowcase

It’s time to leave cotton behind and treat yourself to a 100% silk pillowcase. Sleeping on silk can help your skin (and hair!) retain moisture. In order to keep the natural oils in your skin, it might be worth investing, as cotton pillowcases, however organic, can actually draw those natural oils away.

Remember to wash your bedding at least once a week to get rid of the dead skin cells and old residual makeup/grease as this, along with the friction against the skin, can promote inflammation and spots.

3. Cramming On The Cream

We all do it. We see a spot and load on our acne-fighting cream. Unfortunately, over-treating your spots can actually dry out your skin and cause it to produce even more oil! It’s a sure-fire way of guaranteeing even more zits. Our advice isn’t to stop, but just to use your go-to product in moderation.

4. Hats

woman hat

Any item of clothing that can trap sweat and bacteria can end up clogging your pores. In the cold weather you’ve got to keep those ears warm, but if you’re indoors or working out make sure to ditch any headgear, including headbands and sweatbands.

5. Workout Sweat

How many of us wear a full face of makeup to the gym? This is a big no-no if you want flawless skin. Make sure to clean your face completely before you start working up a sweat. And when you’re finished, shower straight away otherwise remnants of makeup, dirt, bacteria, oil, and sweat could find their way into your pores, causing a breakout.

6. Detergent

Some chemicals in our washing powders can actually have a negative effect on our skin. Your skin may be reacting to the residue of the product every time you put on or take off your clothes. Try to choose a detergent that’s fragrance-free, dye-free, and dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin (usually labeled non-bio).

7. Picking Spots

Our hands touch everything. And all the bacteria living on the things we touch, transfer directly to your face - easily resulting in a pimple! Clean your hands regularly, and start to be mindful of where your fingertips wander during the day. You probably touch your face more often than you think.

Also, resist the temptation to squeeze a spot. It can spread infection and permanently scar the skin - not good! When we pop a pimple, we can actually push bacteria and dead skin deeper. The follicle wall is then at risk of rupturing and could infect the innermost layer of the skin. Even if it looks like you’re getting a lot of dirt out, chances are infected material has tunneled into the deepest part of the skin from below because of the pressure you’ve exerted. Trust us: the less intervention from your hands, the better.

sun happy

8. Sun Damage

We all know that too much sun exposure can cause serious skin cancer. It’s also a widespread myth that the sun clears up blemishes. It’s actually doing the opposite. The sun dries out your skin and sets off excess oil production which plays a big part in hyping up your acne. You should be using sunscreen all year round and a minimum of SPF 30. 

9. Kissing

If your partner has facial hair, it most likely isn’t doing your skin any services. Kissing somebody with facial hair creates friction from the prickle, thus stimulating your skin to produce more oil. We all know where that leads to! If your skin is really stressing you out, maybe suggest a clean shave to your partner. If the beard has to stay, try getting them to keep it as soft as possible with an oil or conditioner. 

10. Cigarettes

cigarette smoke

Still smoke? It’s a hard habit to quit, we get that. But if the threat of cancer, premature aging and the list of other cons that come with cigarettes aren’t putting you off then perhaps the effect it has on your pore size will. Every time you light, the amount of oxygen that can reach your skin is reduced. It breaks down collagen and elastin which increases the size of your pores (and causes wrinkles)!

Final Thoughts

It might feel like the end of the world when you look in the mirror and see red blots of skin staring back at you. It’s worth noting that sometimes persistent and angry acne can be a sign of an underlying issue like a hormonal imbalance, so if nothing eases the symptoms off, it could be worth checking in with the doctor.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.

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