Blogs by Dermatologist


Acne at 30’s: Cause and treatment of Adult Acne from Dermatologist


Acne at 30’s: Cause and treatment of Adult Acne from Dermatologist

“Doctor, I am getting acne at 30’s? What is the cause and treatment of adult acne?”

Well, You are not alone. Around 15% to 40% of adults have acne beyond 25 years of age. The cause could be hormonal push or messing up your skincare or lifestyle. Read this article, to find the reason for acne at 30’s and various solutions to get rid of them.

What is adult acne?

Acne usually stops by age of 25 years, but if you keeping on breaking out(called persistent adult acne), or get new breakouts after cessation of acne in adolescence(called as late-onset acne).

How does acne present at 30’s?

Adult acne usually presents with large red or pus-filled pimples around the mouth, jawline and chin. In most cases, only 1-2 red pimples appear around your menses but take longer to settle. However, in the case of underlying PCOD or thyroid abnormalities, pimples breakout can be more troublesome.

What causes acne at 30’s?

Studies mention various reason for breaking out beyond 25 years of age.

Hormonal imbalance

This is the most common cause of adult acne, most of you still having subtle hormone imbalance, even if your periods are regular. At my clinic, more than 80% of patients with adult acne either have PCOD or thyroid abnormalities. Rare causes include ovarian tumours, obesity, adrenal or pituitary gland diseases etc.

If you also have menstrual irregularities, hair fall, increase hair growth on face and body or weight gain, then you fall in this category. You should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Wrong skincare regime

This is the second common cause of adult acne. Faulty skincare practices like the use of skincare products with comedogenic ingredients, washing of face many times in a day, layering of many products, excessive rubbing of the face with the towel, over scrubbing of the face, facials in parlours etc. You should follow a skincare routine for acne-prone skin that aims to remove excess oils from your skin, yet not make it overdry.


Stress leads to the release of steroid hormone into your system, which can trigger acne. If you are working long hours, doing night shifts or have sleepless nights, then you need to unwind to reduce those zits.

Runs in your family

If your parents had acne at a later age or your siblings are also breaking out, then your acne tendency is inherited.

Body builders acne

Whey protein, excessive intake of proteins, anabolic steroids can lead to pimples especially at chest and at the back in young males.

Frictional acne

Use of high necks, scarves or even supporting your face with hands can lead to acne in the lower half of face.

Drug-induced acne

Certain drugs most commonly steroids, oral contraceptive pills, phenytoin, danazol, isoniazid, lithium, Vitamin B12, iodides and bromides can lead to pimples, but the good news is that pimples usually fade once the medicine is stopped.

Occupational acne

Handling greasy products like greases, tar, heavy oils, etc. can lead to acne.

Hot and humid weather

Acne can also be precipitated due to heat and humidity, especially, in females, who have to cook in hot and humid weather.

What can I do to stop adult acne at home?

If you have one or two breakouts, then here are few steps to reduce acne:

When should I visit a dermatologist?

Since acne in adults might be an indicator of the underlying medical cause, a dermatologist visit is recommended in all cases.

What is the treatment of adult acne?

Treatment will depend on the severity of acne; your dermatologist might prescribe you:

  • Topical Benzoyl peroxide to be applied at night on pimples; this medicine is especially effective in reducing large red pimples.
  • Topical retinoid is prescribed less commonly because it is more efficient for black/white heads which, rarely occurs in adult-onset acne.
  • Oral or topical antibiotics are given for red or pus-filled lesions.
  • Hormonal medicines may be prescribed in females with deranged hormone levels. However, your dermatologist might start hormonal medicine in the absence of deranged laboratory parameters because in some cases the androgen receptors on oil glands are hyper-responsive to normal levels of the hormone.
  • Oral Isotretinoin is given in lower doses, only if regular treatment is not working or if you have severe acne.

It is very important to be patient when it comes to the response of pimples; they take time to settle even with the medicines.

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