Dr. Kirby's Blog

Why Am I Still Getting Acne as an Adult?!

woman looking at skin in mirror

It’s a commonly held belief that acne is largely the plight of teenagers—which leads many adults to feel confused and disheartened when they just can’t shake recurring breakouts.

The truth is, there are many adults who still suffer from acne well into their 30s or 40s. Battling the occasional zit or dry patch can be frustrating or inconvenient, but dealing with the everyday discomfort and embarrassment of acne can take a huge toll on your mental and psychological health.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating acne—and finding the right cocktail of products, professional treatments, and lifestyle changes that work for you can be challenging. Narrowing down what underlying factors may be contributing to your breakouts with your professional skincare provider is the first step to developing a treatment plan, and this article examining the science of acne on Medical Daily is a great place to start.

What is causing my acne?

Unfortunately, finding the cause of your acne isn’t always a simple task—and there is no single factor that determines why some people have chronic inflammation while others remain blemish-free. Everything from your genetics to where you live can be linked to your breakouts, though a recent study took a look specifically at lifestyle habits that can play a role in your acne.

Here are a few things to consider:

What you eat: Are you getting your recommended daily serving of fruit and vegetables? Resisting the temptation of donuts in the break room? If your answer is no—and you are dealing with adult acne—you may want to reconsider your diet. Foods with a high glycemic index, including simple carbs and sugary treats, have been shown to trigger breakouts. Some people find milk products trigger breakouts, so it may also be worth observing if you notice a connection between your breakouts and dairy consumption.

But it’s not only what you do eat that’s impacting your skin; not eating certain foods can also lead to inflammation. Study participants who didn’t eat enough fruit, vegetables, and foods high in healthy fats (fish, avocados, etc.) were more likely to have acne. Try swapping out your afternoon snack of chips with some carrots and hummus, a tuna salad with whole grain crackers, or fresh fruit.

How you handle stress: It’s no secret that stress is bad, but did you know that on top of impacting your sleep, putting your heart as risk, and wreaking havoc on your digestive system, stress can also increase your risk of acne three-fold? Excess stress tends to create the perfect environment for acne by affecting your eating habits, contributing to insomnia, and causing your hormones to fluctuate. If you’ve noticed that your stress or anxiety levels have been higher than normal, it is important to seek help in stress management. Talk to your physician about your concerns. He or she can help you understand your options, including coping mechanisms like meditation, exercise, natural supplements, or medication.

Your hormones: Speaking of hormones, if yours are out of balance, they may be to blame for your acne. In fact, hormone fluctuation is one of the leading causes of acne in women. Even those who don’t suffer from ongoing acne can experience breakouts before their period or when stopping or starting birth control pills. But if your acne isn’t going away and you suspect it may be your hormones, it is crucial to get your levels checked by your doctor to avoid additional complications. If you are also experiencing abnormal periods, it is also important to rule out conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and to determine a course of action to ensure your health and comfort.

Options for treating acne in Fort Worth

As a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic medicine, I have helped a number of patients who are tired of battling their adult acne and acne scarring with questionable products, medications with a laundry list of side effects, or DIY beauty treatments that inevitably worsen the problem. Working closely with my talented aesthetic team, we create a treatment plan that includes a combination of medical treatments in our office and physician-grade skincare products to use at home—customized to your specific needs.

When you come in for a consultation and evaluation, we can determine the best solutions for you. We offer a number of treatments and products to help our patients see clearer skin:

  • SkinPen Microneedling is a natural solution that uses your body’s own healing response to reduce blemishes, lessen the appearance of acne scars, and provide you with an overall healthier, clearer complexion.
  • HydraFacial MD is a soothing, gentle exfoliation to calm inflammation and clarify the skin.
  • ResurFX laser skin resurfacing offers a more dramatic reduction of acne scarring and can address skin blemishes without the downtime of ablative lasers.
  • Medical-grade skincare products are recommended for maintaining the results of your treatment and taking care of your skin at home in between office visits.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these treatments or are ready to explore your options, I encourage you to contact my Fort Worth office to schedule your appointment. I would love to help you regain your confidence and enjoy smooth, healthy skin.

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