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Acne at 30 Years Old: Causes and Treatments of Adult Acne

Are you experiencing acne at 30 years old? This blog post covers the prevalence of adult acne, the causes, and the treatments to pursue.

If you though you’d leave your acne in your teenage years, think again. Many adults experience acne for the first time in their 30s for a variety of reasons.

If you’re experiencing acne at 30 years old, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 15% of women in their 30s and 40s have acne.

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What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition caused by clogged hair follicles under the skin’s surface.

Sebum is the oil that keeps the skin from drying out, and dead skin cells clog the pores, causing outbreaks of lesions known as pimples or zits.

The outbreaks usually appear on the face. However, they can appear on the back, chest, and shoulders as well.

Acne is a common skin condition affecting mostly teenagers and young adults. Sometimes the problem persists or even begins in adulthood. When this happens, it is known as adult acne.

Adult acne can affect both men and women. Acne at 30 years old is more common in women than in men.     

The good news is that acne can often be treated in a variety of ways. Let’s dig more into the causes of acne and how you can get clear skin.

What are the types of acne?

There are three types of acne: mild, moderate, and severe. Let’s explore their definitions:

Mild Acne: 

Mild acne at 30 years old can appear as blackheads or whiteheads. This is pretty common to experience throughout all phases of life.

Moderate Acne:

Moderate Acne at 30 years old may also include papules that cover one-quarter to three-quarters of the face or body.

It may be uncomfortable and require treatment.

Severe Acne:

Severe acne at 30 years old is associated with extreme itchiness or other hyperpigmentation, swelling, irritation, and deep cysts.

Many people often opt for medication to treat severe acne.

What Are The Causes Of Acne At 30 Years Old?

1. Hormonal Imbalance:

Our bodies change as we age, and hormonal imbalances are the primary cause of acne at 30 years old, for adult women especially.

As a result, as an adult, the skin is more vulnerable to hormonal changes.

These hormonal fluctuations can cause an increase in oil production from our sebaceous glands, which leads to clogged pores and breakouts.

Additionally, skin cell turnover refers to the producing new skin cells to replace old ones. During cell turnover, the body gets rid of dead skin cells.

We no longer have such a healthy shedding cycle because our body cell turnover slows as we age. As a result, dead skin cells remain on top of our epidermis, causing acne at 30 years old by clogging and obstructing our pores with dead skin.

As a result of this, bacteria multiply, and acne flares up. Stress can alter the functions and secretions of the entire body by causing hormonal imbalances.

Hormonal acne can be especially challenging to deal with because it is not as simple as putting something on your skin to fix it. You will need to find the root cause of what is changing your hormone levels.

 Another reason to put self-care and mental health first! If you are concerned about a hormonal imbalance, you should see your primary care physician and have some blood tests performed.

2. Products For The Hair And Skin

Acne breakouts at 30 years old can be triggered by oil-based products used in your hair and on your skin.

Here are some examples:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair styling products
  • Leave-on conditioners
  • Makeup
  • Moisturizers and face creams

It is usually only with oily or highly comedogenic products. Changing your hair products may be one of the best ways to reduce the impact of these products on the surface of the skin.

3. Medications:

Acne at 30 years old can be caused by hormones, corticosteroids, and lithium-containing medications.

Although hormonal birth control pills (oral contraceptives) are commonly used to treat adult acne, certain formulations may also cause acne at 30 years old.

If you are taking any prescription medications, check the side effects or ask your pharmacist or doctor if your type of acne is a side effect of the medication. Even oral medications can cause things like acne.

A healthcare professional can provide more information on selecting a hormonal contraceptive that meets all of your requirements.

4. Family History:

Acne at 30 years old is more likely to affect you if your parents had acne. Of course this is only likely part of the whole picture, but it is important to note, especially if you are pursing acne treatment.

5. Undiagnosed Medical Problems:

A variety of health and skin conditions can resemble acne or cause acne breakouts at 30 years old.

Here are some examples:

  • Rosacea (a common skin disease)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) 
  • The menstrual cycle (can result in excess oil production)

The following do not cause acne at 30 years old but may aggravate it:

  • Stress
  • Pressure from sports helmets, constrictive clothing, or backpacks
  • Environmental irritants include pollution and high humidity
  • Picking or squeezing blemishes
  • Scrub your skin too vigorously
Woman face before and after acne treatment procedure. Skin care concept.

Potential Acne Treatments To Consider: 

Teenage skin heals and regenerates more quickly, but as an adult, the process slows. Our collagen levels are also declining, which may result in more acne scarring.

The key to success is to remain consistent with your skincare routine, reduce your stress levels, and find the root cause of your acne.

1. Topical Items:

Topical items Retinol, for example, helps in cell turnover and helps to dry out excess oil on the skin.

Using a BHA salicylic acid cleanser will aid in the removal of acne at 30 years old. Because it is oil soluble, it will penetrate the skin and aid in the removal of dirt, dead skin, and oil.

Tea tree oil is an antibacterial and drying agent, and witch hazel can help with inflammation.

These two ingredients combined in a 50:50 ratio and applied to the skin as a spot treatment can produce excellent results. And you can recover from acne at 30 years old.

2. Hygiene:

It also plays a role, and getting new pillows and removing allergens is essential to keeping skin clear and healthy, as is sleep!

We should sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. when our rejuvenating hormones are released to prevent acne at 30 years old.

3. Best Acne-Fighting Skincare Ingredients:

 The best acne-fighting skincare ingredients are:

Salicylic Acid:

 It removes dead skin cells before bacteria can infect them.

Tea Tree Oil:

It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Glycolic Acid:

It exfoliates the skin by removing dirt and oil.

Benzoyl Peroxide: 

The bacterium that causes pimples is killed by benzoyl peroxide.


It can help prevent new pimples and aid in cell renewal.

Azelaic Acid:

It is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and gentle exfoliator that helps to reduce inflammation, unclog pores, and prevent acne at 30 years old.

4. Invest In A Blue And Red LED Light:

Blue light kills bacteria, and red light has been shown to reduce inflammation.

LED light therapy targets acne-causing bacteria and excess sebum production, which causes clogged pores.

These treatments can aid in the treatment of current acne outbreaks at 30 years old as well as the prevention of future outbreaks.

5. Treatments With Lasers

These are effective acne treatments at 30 years old because they kill bacteria on contact. Lasers can also shrink your oil glands, preventing clogged pores and future acne breakouts. They have the ability to penetrate deep into the skin without harming it. 

6. Home Remedies:

Acne at 30 years old home remedies includes oral supplements and topical treatments that you apply directly to your skin.

Here are a few examples:

  • Aloe Vera:Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this plant extract is used to treat acne at 30 years old.
  • Green Tea Extract: Green tea has been shown to reduce body inflammation. Consider drinking a few cups daily in addition to your topical skin care regimen for a more holistic approach. Lotions and gels with at least 2% green tea extract may be beneficial for acne at 30 years old.
  • Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can also aid in acne at 30 years old treatment. It is available as an oral supplement or as a topical treatment.
  • Vitamin A: It is possible acne at 30 years old treatment, but you must ensure that you are getting it correctly. Oral vitamin A supplements do not have the same effect as topical vitamin A. However, as a topical medication, vitamin A can help with acne at 30 years old. Most topical medications chemically convert vitamin A into retinoid, which can then be applied to the skin.
  • Probiotics: For acne at 30 years old on the skin’s surface, probiotics target one factor that contributes to acne formation. It helps restore healthy fats by inducing the production of healthy ceramides, which can benefit acne at 30 years old directly and counteract common side effects caused by acne at 30 years old therapies.

Many home remedies are ineffective, especially for severe or deep acne at 30 years old.

Some home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, toothpaste, and lemon juice, can harm the skin barrier, causing irritation and rashes. Warm compresses can be helpful for deep cystic acne at 30 years old.

Acne Breakout Preventions:

Preventing acne isn’t always something that you have control of, especially if it is hormonal acne

Use Sunscreen:

Because acne at 30 years old can leave scars, it’s critical to wear sunscreen to reduce the hyperpigmentation of those scars.

Take Care Of Your Skin:

Avoid harsh scrubbing and excessive face washing. Wash your face twice a day, then moisturize with an oil-free, noncomedogenic moisturizer.

Although it may add moisture to oily skin, dry skin stimulates the production of more sebum, resulting in a greasy appearance and more breakouts.

As Soon As Possible, Remove All Makeup From Your Face: 

Remember to clean your makeup brushes regularly. Bacteria thrive in these environments. And they cause acne at 30 years old.

Wash Your Hair Frequently:

If you have greasy hair, use a shampoo labeled for oily hair to prevent acne at 30 years old.

Cut Your Bangs Or Pull Them Up And Away From Your Skin With A Hair Tie:

Bangs, especially if your hair is oily, can cause acne at 30 years old and breakouts on your forehead.

Change Your Pillowcases Frequently:

Oil from your hair and face is absorbed into the fabric, and you sleep on it night after night, depositing more oil onto the pillowcase and then back onto your skin.

Take Care Of Your Physical Health:

Steps such as reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may not appear to have a direct impact on your skin.

However, they can make a significant difference in terms of acne at 30 years old relief.

Woman washing her face with water above bathroom sink.

In Summary: Acne at 30 Years Old

Having acne at age 30 is not uncommon. If you have acne into your adult years, know that you are not alone. The key is finding the root cause and then treating it.

Having acne can really take toll on your mental health and confidence. Seek help from a dermatologist to help figure out what is causing your acne and where to go from here.

This article is not intended as medical advice. This article was written by and medically reviewed by a nurse practitioner.


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