Lifestyle Changes to Manage Adult Acne

Similar to hormonal acne that had once persisted throughout your teenage years, you can also manage adult acne by making minor changes to your lifestyle and even adopt new habits. Not surprisingly, acne can recur under predisposed factors that you might be unknowingly incorporating into your daily life.

What causes adult acne?

Acne does not only happen to teenagers. It can also happen to adults, no matter the age.

Adult acne can appear on the shoulders, neck, chest, upper arms, and back. The most common causes of adult acne are excessive sebum production, hormonal imbalance, lack of a proper skincare regime, inadequate diet, stress, and more.

These four factors have a direct contribution to adult acne:

  • Excessive oil production
  • Clogged pores
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation

adult acne inflammation in skin diagram

Other indirect factors include hormones, stress, makeup, diet, skincare and hair products, and the menstrual cycle. Fortunately, adult acne can be treated by receiving proper treatments and making simple lifestyle changes.

Adult acne vs teenage acne

As much as the different acne types all begin with clogged pores, there are distinct differences and similarities between adult and teenage acne.



Adult Acne

Teenage Acne

Hormones involved

Estrogen, progesterone (especially during pregnancy/menstrual cycles)


Affected areas

Lower face, such as chin and mouth

Upper face, such as forehead and cheeks

Typical causes

Genetic factors, excess production of oil in glands, steroidal medication

Genetic factors, excess production of oil in glands

To determine the appropriate treatment for both types of acne, it is highly dependable on the type of acne and what is causing it. As a rule of thumb, topical skin products are used first, then prescription of antibiotics or hormonal therapies if the acne does not get better.

How can adult acne be treated?

Derma skincare range

If you are prone to breakouts and have oily or combination skin, use specially formulated derma skincare products instead. The products in this range are typically water-based or oil-free as they are less likely to clog your pores.

Slather on moisturizing sunscreen daily so the skin does not dry out. When skin is too dry, it signals the body to create more oil which can lead to further unwanted breakouts.

Topical over the counter (OTC) creams

otc creams for adult acne

OTC topical acne medications come in creams, gels, liquids, and lotion forms. These treatments contain anti-inflammatory properties and come in different strengths which can be purchased depending on the severity of your acne.

Dermatologist-prescribed antibiotics for severe acne

Dermatologists might prescribe oral antibiotics for severe cases of adult acne. The medication prescribed kills bacteria on the skin and significantly reduces inflammation and works especially well for pus-filled whiteheads and tender red bumps.

Acne facials

Facials in Singapore are tailored to solve specific skin issues such as dry skin, wrinkles, and acne. Typically, a dermatologist will examine your skin’s needs through a skin analysis. Thereafter, the therapist will be able to recommend the best-suited acne facial.

Acne facials such as exfoliation work best on mild inflammatory adult acne. The Triple Gold Lifting® Facial at Illumia Therapeutics targets adult acne by breaking down skin enzymes responsible for acne in matured skin. Other than reducing acne, it also lifts, hydrates, and heals damaged skin.

How can I prevent acne from recurring?

Recurring acne can be prevented by modifying your current lifestyle habits. From simple things like working out to get the blood flowing and avoiding polluted areas, adult acne can be curbed effectively if preventive measures are consistent.

Wash up well before and after exercise

Exercising is a great outlet for relieving stress, but breakouts can happen when the skin hygiene is not maintained. Makeup should be thoroughly removed with oil-free and non-comedogenic cleansing products before working out. This prevents the pores from clogging while sweating out later.

While exercising, pat the sweaty skin with a towel instead of rubbing it. Take an immediate shower immediately after as body acne is caused by oils in the sweat that has been absorbed by the clothes.

wipe sweat with towel

Dietary changes

While there is no conclusive proof that dietary changes contribute to the severity of adult acne, certain food may not be a good match for some people. Should your skin start flaring up after eating certain foods, try cutting them out and see if it calms your skin.

For a start, you may consider trying these out: 

  • Hydrate yourself well
  • Nuts contain nutrients that can protect skin cells from damage and infections 
  • Consume seasonal and local produce fruits and vegetables for healthier and clearer skin
  • Reduce the consumption of oily foods, sugar, and sodas

Manage stress levels well

When stressed, the adrenal gland produces cortisol which regulates various bodily processes such as the immune system, digestive system, and neurological system, thus affecting your moods. When your stress levels become overwhelming, cortisol may start causing issues and lead to breakouts

A study suggests that cortisol contributes to severe adult acne by creating a favourable environment for inflammation to occur.

As much as possible, avoid stress by prioritizing self-care, getting plenty of restful sleep, integrating physical exercise daily, or reducing the amount you smoke and drink.

Form nightly routines with acne-fighting skincare products

When shopping for new skincare products, look for those containing ingredients with acne-fighting properties such as:

  • Salicylic acid - seeks out oil and unclogs pores
  • Benzoyl peroxide - kills acne-causing bacteria
  • Alpha hydroxy acid - reduces inflammation
  • Sulfur - removes excess oil and dead skin cells

Recent changes in your product might also cause acne if you are sensitive to it. Always do a patch test before you use the product extensively. Simple, non-irritating products are essential for anyone dealing with adult acne.

derma skincare range for adult acne

Manage adult acne for better skin complexion

Although making lifestyle changes can help to improve adult acne, there is no full guarantee that it is the best method for getting the situation under control. If you find yourself constantly breaking out, you may consider seeing an aesthetic doctor or a dermatologist to seek the appropriate treatment.

Our therapists at Illumia Therapeutics work together with the team of aesthetic doctors and expert doctors at Illumia Medical to curate unique acne treatment plans for all types of acne to help you achieve clear acne-free skin.

Schedule a consultation with us today to learn about the best acne treatment options for your skin.


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