The causes of adult acne and how to manage it

Why do adults break out and not just teens? Isn’t acne meant to stop when you become an adult? Why am I still breaking out in my 20s and 30s? 

If any of these questions have crossed your mind before, you’re not alone – adult acne is real, and happens to many of us. And whilst there are lots of things we may miss about our teen years, acne definitely isn’t one of them. Here, we’re talking all things adult acne, from the best skincare routine to help manage it, and the best ingredients to help treat it. We’re in this together, honey!

What causes adult acne?

There are so many reasons why you may be breaking out as an adult, but there is one constant as to how acne is caused. That is, the buildup of oil and bacteria on the skin, which in turn clogs the pores and can lead to inflammation. In the same way that our teenage years are full of hormonal changes (ahem, puberty), the same also goes for our adult years. Natural fluctuations in our hormones can be caused by an array of factors like stress, which increase the skin’s oil production and can cause the pesky breakouts we thought we once left behind.

Other factors that can cause adult acne include build up of makeup, dirt and pollution on the skin, as well as using the wrong skincare products or alternatively using them too often (over-cleansing or over-exfoliating can be a culprit too!). 

What’s the best skincare routine to manage adult acne?

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again – cleansing and exfoliating is key (you can read why here). When it comes to a skincare routine to manage adult acne, regularly cleansing the skin is an important step as it’s an effective way to wash away the day, and all the makeup and impurities that come with it. Your best bet is to opt for a double cleanse, starting first with an oil-based cleanser (think: cleansing oils or balms) to deeply remove all traces, before cleansing with a second, lighter option (like a gel, milk or foam cleanser) to ensure everything is squeaky clean and nourished. 

Next, incorporating a gentle exfoliant can help to manage adult acne. Exfoliating the skin is an important step in the acne-fighting process as it helps to buff away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, helping to unclog pores and congestion. Spot treatments also work a treat here, which target areas with acne and help to decongest the skin, whilst also keeping it calm and irritation-free. 


Finally, a lightweight moisturiser is also an ideal choice when it comes to managing adult acne. Our Honey Shots Clearing Gel can be used all-over as a weightless moisturiser formulated with hardworking, acne-fighting ingredients that won’t clog pores further. Thanks to its Manuka Honey-spiked formula, it also helps to reduce inflammation and keep skin feeling calm and nourished. 

What ingredients are best for adult acne?

When treating adult acne, we recommend opting for gently exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid, as well as ingredients like niacinamide and aloe leaf juice to help calm the skin and protect the skin barrier. You can find these in our Honey Shots Clearing Gel, or read more about the best ingredients for acne and blemish prone skin here! 

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