Acne in adults: causes and treatments

acne is ubiquitous

It is the most common skin disorder in the US, with between 40 and 50 million Americans, including millions of adults, currently affected. Almost 85% of people will have acne at least once in their life.

However, some people are clearly more acne-prone than others, and different treatments work for different people. We prepared this article to inform and clarify the causes and treatments for acne.


The most important cause of acne is a skin oil called sebum. While healthy skin has just the right amount of sebum, occasional triggers can cause excess sebum to be secreted. This leads to oily skin, and the extra oils, in turn, clog your pores. Bacteria get trapped inside the clogged pores and begin to swell, causing redness and bumps known as acne.

In addition to genetics, a few factors can determine how much sebum a person's skin produces. High stress periods are known to cause more sebum and breakouts. Other factors, such as hormones, such as during puberty, and medications, such as birth control, can cause the body to produce excess sebum, leading to breakouts.

Physical contact also plays a role. During the COVID pandemic, we are seeing widespread cases of "maskne," acne that forms under a mask. Masks, especially when used more than once without washing them off, can trap extra oils in the skin and clog pores. We found that it is imperative for skin health to wear a clean mask every day.


Acne can be mitigated, treated, and prevented in a number of ways. Some involve the direct application of products to the skin; however, the best long-term solution is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. People with less stress, a healthy diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and regular exercise have been shown to have less acne.

However, for a short-term solution, products can certainly help. Ultimately, the goal of acne products is to unclog and clear your pores. To achieve this, we recommend beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) in particular, such as salicylic acid, the main active ingredient in our. BHAs are excellent at penetrating pores and dissolving excess sebum, cleansing them and leaving skin refreshed. These products will surprise you with how quickly they work to get rid of breakouts.

We also recommend alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) for exfoliation. Like sebum, dead skin cells can clog pores and cause acne. AHAs can dissolve dead skin and leave you acne free. Glycolic Acid, an AHA, is found in our Revitalize Micro Peel Gels, and Glycolic and Salicylic Acids are found in our Dual Renewal Toner Pads . Both products can provide excellent, fast-acting acne relief.

Last but not least, fortifying the skin with nutrient and antioxidant serums can help repair the skin barrier and prevent irritation. We recommend our light, hydrating Multi Action Green Tea Serum and our rejuvenating Vita Protect Skin to keep skin nourished, soft, smooth and healthy.

Are you interested in providing more effective acne treatments for your patients? Take a look at our dermatologist-formulated acne products, specially designed to reduce and eliminate breakouts. 

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