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What is adult acne?

04.04.2022 | Skincare

Whilst it’s typically seen as a condition that dominates the hormone charged teenage years, acne isn’t age discriminatory and can also appear in its adult form age 25+ and even into the 30s and 40s. 


Adult acne, adult-onset acne or post-adolescent acne has similar contributing causes including excess sebum caused by external environment or internal imbalances in hormones, diet etc; dead skin cells and dirt clogging the pores which can escalate into infection. 

Hormonal acne  is a manifestation of the activity of our hormones and triggers from our internal constitution but there can also be external factors to these breakouts. Over our lives, changes can occur which have an impact our cortisol levels and other hormones which then show through on the surface in our skin health. Pre-menstruation, pregnancy, peri-menopause or menopause also create significant fluctuations later in life. Similarly, our lifestyle choices can have a significant impact. From drinking and smoking to our exercise routine and workout hygiene which can impact oil production and changes to bacteria on the skin’s surface.

Due to the changes in hormone levels and contributing factors such as pregnancy and menopause, women can be more prone to adult acne. Genetics can also play a part so if your family members are acne-prone later in life, you could be too. 

Adult acne tends to be at the more inflammatory, deeper end of the scale consisting of pustules, papules and closed comedones. If acne has been a continuation from teenage years, it may require a more targeted approach in terms of active ingredients and layering. If your acne is severe or you’re not seeing results, you can consult your doctor or dermatologist for further investigation.  

Also to note is a side effect that becomes more pronounced with adult acne - scarring. As skin regenerates slower as we age, the tendency to scar can also be a longer term concern.    



This is an essential stage to keep pores clear from excess oil, dirt and dead skin. 

We recommend: Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Our lightly foaming cleanser removes makeup and dirt, while penetrating deep into pores helping to reduce blackheads and breakouts.


Target specific breakout areas and blemishes for quick relief.

We recommend: Succinic Acid Treatment

Clear blemishes fast, reduce inflammation and prevent clogged pores with our non-drying, targeted treatment.


Layer acne-busting  actives tohat specifically target beneath the surface to combat acne.

We recommend: Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum

BHA is an exfoliator that works beneath the surface of the skin to help unclog pores, target blackheads and reduce excess oil.


If you’d like more advice on adult acne and to create a personal recipe, get in touch at askINKEY.

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.