In a perfect world, the last thing adults worry about is acne. After all, as you grow up you leave behind anything teen-related, right? Well, think again. The reality is that acne still affects adults—even in more severe levels than young people—and women are hit the worst with adult acne.

According to Dr. Marina Peredo, M.D., P.C. and nationally recognized board certified dermatologist with over 20 years of experience, “adult acne affects 50% of women, while it only affects 25% of men. Factors such as hormones, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and cosmetics play into why women show more signs of acne. There are simply more aspects that women come across in their lives that lead to acne versus their male counterparts”.

To be more specific, Debra Jaliman, M.D. and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, gives detailed numbers about acne in adults. She also agrees with Dr. Peredo that acne seems to get worse when there is a hormonal shift in the body.

Age Women Men
20’s 51% 42%
30’s 35% 20%
40’s 26% 12%
50’s + 15% 7%


Acne could be, in fact, a nightmare for many. Grownups are more susceptible when it comes to skin problems and are often being depressed by “something that was supposed to stop years ago”. No matter the age or social status, adults are prone to lose confidence and feel unattractive—especially if you’re still looking for your soul mate.

Take my own example: I was that lucky girl in high school with perfect skin. Years passed by and acne punched me hard in the face—at 23 during my first pregnancy—affecting not only my social life and work events, but also making me feel more self-conscious.

Dr. Peredo adds that it “really depends on each individual but it is found that most adults do suffer emotionally more than a teenager. When you are older and still showing signs of acne, it can be a very emotional and hard to deal with/understand.” With that said if you feel like acne is pushing your limits—both physical and psychological—and that it’s getting into your personal life then it’s the right time to consult a specialist…

Most adults are financially independent than teenagers—for this reason, they are willing to pay more for faster and more efficient results. Adults have a more resources and are more likely to go for it when over-the-counter products don’t work.

“I have found adults to be more committed than younger patients. Adults tend to lead more toward chemical peels, laser treatments and microdermabrasion versus topical treatments that younger people usually opt for. Those treatments are all more costly than using creams and gels”, says Dr. Marina Peredo.

If you don’t have the time or money to seek professional help, you can still invest in advanced devices to treat skin problems at home, but be aware that some of them just work on specific types of acne.

Adult Acne Solutions

These gadgets can help you deal with skin problems from the comfort of your home. From left to right: Clarisonic Acne Clarifying Collection; LightStim Acne Light; and Tanda Clear Plus.

For both men and women, it’s extremely important to not only stop the acne and its causes, but to heal existing blemishes as well. So to tell you the truth, scars are the scariest part of the situation.
In the words of Dr. Jaliman, “acne scars are very treatable”. If you are visiting a professional to reduce them, you have several options ranging from dermal fillers that work immediately to lasers that can take up to months. You will need tons of patience and be on the lookout for side effects.

Dr. Peredo also explains that “you can count on numerous treatments to reduce/eliminate the appearance of acne scars. Microdermabrasion, for example, has become very popular over the years.” Either way, “when treating acne, it is important to use a treatment that not only treats the issue, but also hydrates the skin”, said Dr. Maritza Perez, board certified dermatologist and Olay expert.

Adult Acne Products

Products that not only heal your acne but also hydrate your skin. From left to right: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo; Olay Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol; and Dior Diorsnow White Reveal Ultra-Purifying Fluid.

Moving forward, makeup can be your lifesaver…at least for the day. Try and reach for high pigmented concealers, foundations and primers. These will give your skin a more even appearance while camouflaging redness and pimples. My advice? Less is more! Cover affected areas with just a tiny dot of makeup, blend well and always use a brush.

Adults with Acne

Cover up! From left to right: VMV Hypoallergenics Skin the Bluff; Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer; Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer; and MAC Cosmetics Studio Sculp SPF 15 Foundation.