5 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne and How You Can Combat Them

At Evolve Aesthetics in Portland, Oregon, our experts have helped many patients navigate the hills and valleys of adult acne and end up with smooth, healthy skin. We can help you, too. From hydrafacials to chemical peels, we offer a variety of services to help you achieve gorgeous skin, and we offer plenty of tips on lifestyle interventions that may help, too. 

The cause of acne

The cause of acne is the same, regardless of your age. Tiny oil glands, called sebaceous glands, in your skin become blocked by a combination of a waxy substance called sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt. Acne results. 

Why does your body produce the excess sebum? What types of bacteria cause acne? Although the physical cause of acne is the same, the answers to these questions point to specific triggers that may be linked to your breakouts. The following five causes of acne may surprise you. 

1. Hormones

You probably already knew that hormones are often responsible for the acne teenagers experience, but you may not be aware that hormones can also trigger adult acne. Women, especially, may have issues with acne caused by fluctuating hormones due to pregnancy, menopause, birth control, and menstruation. 

2. Products

You buy special soaps, lotions, and other skin care products to take care of your skin, so you may find it particularly frustrating to learn that some products can actually trigger acne breakouts. Some soaps, for example, cleanse away too much of the oil in your skin and trigger your body to produce more, leading to clogged pores. 

3. Medications

Prescription medications are necessary in many instances for you to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, some medications can trigger breakouts. You may want to talk to your doctor if you use products that contain corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, or lithium. 

4. Your diet

Although some advice you may have gotten about diet and acne as a teen is probably inaccurate — there’s no evidence that orange juice and acne are related, for example — there may be a link between what you eat and your breakouts. Some foods are inflammatory, and those can cause increased sebum production. You may want to try avoiding dairy or foods high on the glycemic index to see if your skin improves. 

5. Stress

Some days, stress seems like a feature of modern life. It’s bad for your health, and it’s bad for your skin. When you’re stressed, your body produces more androgen, a hormone that has been linked to acne breakouts. 


If you’re experiencing acne breakouts, we can help. Our team begins with a thorough evaluation of your skin, along with a discussion of your medical history. We then provide an assessment and diagnosis about what kind of acne you have. 

You can expect questions about your skin care routine and other lifestyle factors. Then, we create a customized plan designed for your skin and your life. Some of the treatments that we may suggest include: 

An improved routine

Understanding which products to use and how often can go a long way toward helping to control your acne. You may need to wash your face more often, or simply change the products you’re using. Our providers are experts in Medical Grade Skincare. 


We may suggest getting either oral or topical medications from your provider. Antibiotics can reduce the bacteria and clear up infection, which leads to a clearer complexion. Topical treatments may also help. 

Aesthetic services

We offer several services such as hydrafacials and chemical peels that may reduce the appearance of acne or acne scars. You may be surprised at just how much difference such treatments can make in your appearance. 

If you’re ready to be done with adult acne, call Evolve Aesthetics today or book an appointment online. Let us evaluate your skin and suggest a treatment plan.