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Teen vs. Adult acne: what's the difference?

You might think acne is part and parcel of a teenager, right? Well, here is a surprise. Acne adventure doesn't always end in your teenage years. Just when you thought you bid farewell to the pimple-led days of adolescence, adult acne might come knocking later on to crash the party. Today, we will dig deeper into the world of teenage and adult acne and figure out how the two are different.

In This Article:

What Is Acne?

Acne occurs when the pores in your skin get blocked with excess oil and dead skin cells. If the bacteria gets trapped there, your body fights back, forming acne. They can be divided into 3 categories -

  • Nodules, pimples, and cysts form when a clogged pore bursts open, making big, red, pus-filled bumps
  • Blackheads are pores clogged with an open surface that turns black
  • Whiteheads are pores that get clogged under the skin's surface, leading to swelling

Understanding Teen Acne

Teenagers often deal with acne because their bodies change during puberty. This is driven by hormonal changes, particularly androgens. During puberty, the increased androgen levels lead to heightened oil production in the skin, causing it to make more oil. When this extra oil combines with dead skin cells and clogs up large pores, it can lead to teen acne.

Understanding Adult Acne

Adults can also get acne because their skin produces excess oil. Many hormonal fluctuations, such as pregnancy, periods, and even menopause, can trigger adult acne. Other factors contributing to adult acne causes include stress, dietary choices, and lifestyle habits, such as inadequate skincare routines. Adults generally tend to see it more around their chin and mouth.

Difference Between Teen And Adult Acne

Factors Teen Acne Adult Acne
Hormonal Influence Primarily occurs due to changing hormones during puberty. Hormonal fluctuations, specifically during menstruation and pregnancy, can contribute to the occurrence of adult acne.
Triggers Greasy foods, sweat, and poor hygiene habits commonly cause it. Major triggers of adult acne causes are stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, dehydration, and genetics.
Pores Blockage The sebum mixes with sweat, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells, resulting in obstructed pores, which causes acne. It has a similar mechanism to teenage acne, but factors like frequent touching of the face or picking at pimples can worsen the issue.
Inflammation Hormonal changes contribute to inflammatory acne, but other factors like diet can also play a significant role. Chronic stress and lifestyle choices that lead to inflammatory acne
Age factor Typically, it starts during puberty when hormonal changes occur in the body It can occur suddenly in adulthood or persist from teenage years, often triggered by hormonal shifts or stress.

Self-Care Solutions

  • Wash your face delicately with mild soap and lukewarm water once or twice daily. Avoid harsh scrubbing. Consider using our Face Wash with Salicylic Acid and Thymol T Essence. It’s a gentle, sulphate-free cleanser created with patented Thymol T-essence and Salicylic Acid. It is clinically proven to reduce acne-causing bacteria and soothe your acne in just three days.

  • If you wear makeup, use water-based products and remove it completely before bed.
  • Avoid picking or squeezing acne to prevent scarring, especially since adult skin heals slower; instead, opt for spot correctors that can help with focused treatment. Our Spot Corrector For Active Acne With Salicylic Acid is the best choice for active acne. It is made with a scientifically proven anti-acne technology that helps minimises 99% of acne-causing bacteria.

  • Watch for environmental triggers like sunlight, sweat, and foods that might worsen acne.


Consistency is the key to maintaining clear and healthy skin. Stick to a skincare routine and a balanced diet, and be patient as you progress. Make sure that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Create a regular skincare regimen of cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising with products suitable for both teens and adults, like in the case of Acne Squad. Prioritise sun protection with daily SPF application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:1 What age is considered adult acne?

A. Adult acne typically occurs after age 25 due to excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria, and inflammation.

Q:2 Should a 12-year-old have acne?

A. Yes! Acne can occur in individuals aged 11 to 30, commonly starting in puberty but possibly at any age during adolescence and young adulthood.

Q:3 What is the difference between minor and moderate acne?

AMinor acne typically consists of few whiteheads and blackheads, while moderate acne involves more widespread whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and pustules.

Q:4 What age is acne the worst?

A. Acne typically begins during puberty around ages 10 to 13, often most severe in those with oily skin, lasting around five to 10 years.

Written by Samradni Pradhan on May 06, 2024
Samradni combines her love for exploring diverse beauty products with her knack for expressive writing. She delivers engaging content in the world of beauty with confidence and insight.

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