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Teen vs Adult Acne

by Claudia Christin on Oct 05, 2023

You must often hear the term adult acne, does it differ from the regular acne we had when we were teens? Acne is not something pleasing to have regardless of your age. Let’s find out the differences between those two and how to take care of each.

 

Difference between teenage and adult acne
causes of Teenage and Adult acne

01. What’s the difference between teenage and adult acne?

Acne in both teens and adults is the same type of acne called: ACNE VULGARIS. However, they are quite different in terms of main cause, risk factor, area affected, and the type of acne. Here we represent the main differences between teen and adult acne.

 

Teen Acne

1. Acne vulgaris
- Happens during puberty
- Usually gets better as the hormone stabilized
- Numerous comedones (whiteheads, blackheads) : Papules, pustules, or nodules Cystic acne


2. Severity: Mild to severe : Can be located anywhere, especially around T-zone area


3. Body acne (acne that are located around back, neck, chest, and arms)
: Can affect anyone (genetic), but usually more common in males

 

Adult Acne

1. Acne vulgaris
- Happens over the age of 25, continuously and periodically
- May persist continuously from adolescence or formed for the first time over the age of 25
- Mostly inflammatory lesions
Papule, pustules, or nodules, Comedone lesions (Whitehead, blackhead), Cystic acne
 
2. Severity: Mild to severe : Usually located on the lower part of the face (U-Zone), around the jawline area, the perioral region and the chin


3. Body acne (acne that are located around back, neck, chest, and arms)
: Can affect anyone but more commonly seen in women

 

 

Causes of teenage vs adult/hormonal acne

Caused by the increase in androgen hormone levels that occurs during puberty.

This results in the increasing size of oil-producing skin glands which lead to increased production of oil.

The build up of oil can lead to clogged pores and further develop acne.


Besides the same causes of teen acne, there are several other risk factors causes of adult acne:
1. Genetics: epigenetic changes of sebum quality; change in sebum production, oil gland size, etc

2. Hormones: Endocrine disease, stress induced hormones, diet

3. Smoking

4. Cosmetics

5. Medications


Helpful ingredients to treat acnes

How to treat each acne?

There are several ingredients to look for to treat acne. You can use the products you use to treat facial acne for your face as well as body acne.

 

For mild, moderate and even severe* acne on teen or adult, look for these ingredients:

  1. AHA (Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, Mandelic Acid)

  2. BHA (Salicylic acid)

  3. Retinoids (Retinol and/or adapalene)

  4. Benzoyl peroxide

  5. Niacinamide

  6. Azelaic acid

  7. Sulfur

 

Production recommendation: 

 

Though some severe acne needs more care than OTC treatment, these are the options you can try if you do not have a chance to consult with a dermatologist. Consulting to a dermatologist is still the safest option for severe acne for early intervention and getting the right treatment options to prevent permanent scarring especially if you are dealing with big cystic acne.

 

 

How long to see visible results 

Your acne won’t go overnight, it takes around 4-12 weeks to see visible results. Requiring consistency throughout the process.   

 

 

Factors in teen and adult acne 

 

Teen acne

Hormonal imbalance

Yes

Family History

Yes

High glycemic index food 
Dairy

Yes

Other lifestyle habits :
smoking / alcohol

Maybe not

Stress 

Maybe

 

Adult acne

Hormonal imbalance

Yes

Family History

Yes

High glycemic index food 
Dairy

Yes

Other lifestyle habits :
smoking / alcohol

Maybe

Stress 

Yes

Both cases arise from hormonal imbalance, with the same genetic predisposition. If you want your acne to get better, here are some quick tips that will goes hand-in-hand with your acne-care routine:

  • Eat healthy, well-balanced diet (avoid dairy) 

  • Eat food high in fiber (avoid high glycemic index food) 

  • Get enough sleep (8 hours / day) 

  • Reduce stress

 

 

Extra tips for cystic acne

Severe teen and adult acne might involve multiple cystic acne. They are red, deep, tender bumps filled with solid fibrous masses made of sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells. They are formed when the inflammation goes into the deeper layer of the skin involving more than one pore. There are chances that you might need further assistance from your doctor to prevent scarring and hyperpigmentation. 

 

How to deal with it:

  • Apply your spot treatment on the area 

  • Soothing ingredients can help to reduce the pain and redness of the bumps

 

Extra tips for body acne:

The same rules of treatment apply for body acne. You can use the same face product for your body as well to tackle the breakout. To minimize chances of other risk factors:

  • Take a bath directly after exercise 

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes 

  • Rinse your hair products before using body wash 

  • Shower immediately after a workout 

 

What about applications for unreachable areas like your back? You can decant your product to a sprayer for that area or you can as well ask for assistance from someone to apply on that area.



Related Products


1 Saeedi M, Morteza-Semnani K, Ghoreishi MR. The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. J Dermatolog Treat. 2003 Sep;14(3):153-7. doi: 10.1080/09546630310014369. PMID: 14522625.

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