Acne is a common condition that mostly affects teenagers but can occur in adults as well. Underlying medical conditions can increase an adult’s chances of experiencing this dermatologic issue. Common factors that can increase the probability of having acne skin conditions as an adult include hormonal imbalances, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), stress, and thyroid problems.
Acne conditions can be caused by hair follicles getting clogged with oil or dead skin cells, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. Adults can experience this when they have excessive oil production, clogged pores, bacteria, or inflammation issues. Hair and skin products, including makeup and cosmetics, can also clog pores, and diet choices can play a role as well. Medications like corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, some antidepressants, and lithium can also lead to acne and pimples.
The following provides an overview of the key contributors and medical conditions that cause acne in adults.
Acne Is Often Caused by a Combination of Factors, Including Genetics, Hormones, and the Environment
Medical conditions aren’t the only culprit when it comes to active acne and acne scars. Genetics, natural hormones, and environmental factors all contribute to whether someone’s skin may be prone to clogged pores. Additionally, underlying medical conditions that cause acne usually create more severe cases where medical treatment is needed to correct the problem.
The Most Common Underlying Medical Conditions That Cause Acne Include:
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
PCOS is a common condition that can be associated with acne, weight gain, insulin resistance, hair growth and loss, and ovarian cysts. While research is still being conducted, it’s thought to be a hormone disorder. PCOS accounts for a small fraction of adults who deal with adult acne conditions. It can lead to chronic or severe cases that require professional dermatologic care to address, often in coordination with primary care physicians and gynecologists.
One of the reasons why teenagers deal with acne the most is because of hormonal changes. Hormone levels change during puberty, which can affect the sebaceous glands and cause them to produce extra sebum, a sticky, oily substance. The extra sebum can mix with dead skin cells and lead to clogged pores.
As for adults, women deal with hormone imbalances more regularly than men due to menstrual cycles or as a result of pregnancy. It’s common for women to experience flare-ups before a period or an increase in clogged pores during the first trimester of pregnancy. Skin problems can also develop in women going through menopause.
Hormonal changes that aren’t naturally occurring can also lead to acne. Changes in birth control, such as starting, stopping, or switching methods, can often cause flares, breakouts, and long-lasting skin conditions.
Thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism, can cause adult acne. The thyroid gland is an essential endocrine gland. In hypothyroidism, this gland is underactive and causes a variety of health problems, including pimples on the neck and other areas of the skin. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can also dry out the skin and lead to pimple development. Thyroid problems lead to hormonal imbalances that often result in pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, or cystic conditions.
Stress is a common enemy of healthy, clear skin. The hormone cortisol spikes when a person is stressed, which can kickstart flare-ups and breakouts. Cortisol isn’t the only instigator, either. Stress can cause hormones called androgens to increase as well, which affects oil glands and hair follicles and can lead to acne.
Unfortunately, having skin that’s noticeably struggling can be stressful. It creates a cycle of cause and effect that can seem never-ending, but getting help from a board-certified dermatologist can help stop the cycle by treating and healing your acne.
Experiencing Underlying Medical Conditions Causing Acne? Schedule a Consultation With a Dermatologist at LSSCPA Today!
If an underlying medical condition is affecting your skin, the board-certified dermatologists at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania can provide the treatments necessary to make your skin clear and healthy again. Our experts specialize in cosmetic and medical dermatology, and all of our treatments are performed by board-certified dermatologists. We also remain at the forefront of research in our field to ensure you’re cared for with the best innovations in skin treatment available.
No matter what concern or underlying medical condition is causing your acne, we are able to create a treatment plan customized to suit your skin’s unique needs. With our dermatology expertise and extensive number of lasers and devices, we can tailor our acne and scar treatments just for you. Contact us to schedule your consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists today.
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