Skincare Advice

Acne and adult acne: why it happens and how to avoid it

Nov 29, 2019

Many people mistakenly believe that acne is a problem for adolescents, not adults. But plenty of adults in their twenties and thirties have acne and the condition can easily recur through middle age. Unlike the more common form of acne—a condition caused by excess sebum during puberty—adult acne additionally affects dry skin and combination skin. Daily care with cosmetics and lifestyle changes will generally prevent or clear up milder cases, but severe cases may require dermatological treatment.

Share this page

The four types of acne

There are two main types of acne spots: those that are inflamed and those that are not. Acne spots without inflammation are called “whiteheads” or “blackheads.” A whitehead forms when a pore clogs with sebum. The sebum solidifies inside the pore, which causes it to narrow and whiten at the tip. Blackheads form when the sebum at the tip of a whitehead oxidizes, hardens, and blackens.

Inflamed acne, on the other hand, takes two forms: “red acne” (papules) and “yellow acne” (pustules). Red acne appears when whiteheads and blackheads become inflamed, whereas yellow acne appears later when the inflammation extends deeper inside the skin.

Daily skincare routines can be an effective prevention method against whiteheads and blackheads. But red acne and yellow acne require more specialized treatments — so applying cosmetics directly on the affected areas should be avoided.

What causes acne?

An increase in male hormones causes acne during puberty. These hormones stimulate the generation of excess sebum, which thickens into horny matter on the outer layer of your skin and blocks pores.

Adult acne can also appear on dry skin and develops through a slightly different mechanism: disturbances in skin metabolism that promote the accumulation of old cells. The thickening of the skin’s outer layer results in a narrowing of the pores that promote a smooth discharge of sebum. When shifts in the hormonal balance increase sebum levels, it accumulates to create an environment conducive to acne.

Lifestyle choices can easily disrupt your skin’s metabolism. Make sure to get a full night’s sleep and avoid stress if your skin is prone to acne breakouts. Excess fat and sugar consumption can also increase oil, as both are used by the body to produce sebum. Exercise can prevent or stop acne as sugar and fat burned as fuel have no opportunity to convert to sebum and subcutaneous fat.

How to prevent adult acne: Double cleansing

Acne is more likely to appear when impurities from makeup clog the pores. The best treatment for this type of acne is double cleansing, a skincare routine that uses cleanser and soap or a face wash to remove oily dirt (sebum or makeup) and aqueous dirt from the skin.

Antibacterial cosmetics

Cosmetics with anti-bacterial ingredients can reduce the spread of bacteria on your skin.

Softening the outer layer of your skin

Softening the hard cells on the outer layer of your skin relieves clogged pores and eases the secretion of sebum. A routine of face cleansing and double moisturizing are the best choices to achieve this.

Face cleansing softens tough skin cells by purging the skin of excess sebum and old matter that builds up and toughens throughout your life. Use a softening lotion after a facial cleansing (before double moisturizing) to soften the skin surface and optimize the effects of subsequent skincare products.

Wellness advice

A lack of sleep takes a toll on immune resistance, which aggravates acne breakouts. A full night’s rest and a regular, healthy rhythm in your daily life are essential.

Try to avoid fatty foods, sugar, caffeine, and other stimulating drinks or spices. Vitamin B2 regulates the secretion of sebum, while Vitamin C helps beautify the skin by obscuring acne scars and boosting collagen generation. Choose healthy, vitamin-rich foods as much as possible.

You can find Vitamin B2 in foods like liver, seafood, eggs, mushrooms, and milk and dairy products. Vitamin C occurs in peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits.

An irregular restroom routine can worsen the intestinal environment and make the skin susceptible to boils and acne. Avoid stress and get enough exercise for clearer, healthier skin.

Category Index



Use of cookies

We require your consent to the use of cookies before you can visit this website.
I consent to the use of cookies.


We are sorry that you have decided not to use cookies.
Unfortunately, our website does not work optimally without the use of cookies. Hence, you will be unable to visit this page.
If you would like to change your mind and authorize the use of cookies at this time, please click here.

About cookies

We, Kanebo group companies in Japan (Kanebo Group Companies), use cookies on our webpages to improve our webpages, including enhancing information, services provided and the ease of use of the webpages, and on some pages, to authenticate membership for login, customize the service contents or distribute advertising based on browsing history. A cookie is an electronic file that is transmitted from a particular webpage to a browser viewing that page which can be retrieved later to distinguish a customer’s computer.
We also use a system operated by a provider other than us for use of cookies. For more details, see here.
You can disable or delete cookies in your browser settings. However, this makes certain services, including services requiring login, unavailable.

Use of cookies

We require your consent to the use of cookies before you can visit this website.
I consent to the use of cookies.

Use of the cookie information by 3rd party service providers

In order to analyze user access and optimize advertising distribution, Kanebo Group Companies have acquired statistical website usage information through cookies or web beacons operated by 3rd party service providers (*1) and also distributed advertising via 3rd party service provider on their websites. The cookie information used for access analysis or advertising distribution by 3rd party service providers cannot be used to distinguish an individual. Kanebo Group Companies in conjunction with 3rd party service providers have optimized and distributed advertising (ex. retargeting advertising and behavior targeting advertising) based on the customer’s previous access to Kanebo Group website or other website with a combination of 1st party cookie (ex. Google Analytics Cookie) and 3rd party cookie (ex. DoubleClick Cookie).

(*1) 3rd party service providers whom Kanebo Group Companies engage for web access analysis and advertising distribution refers to the following companies.
For details of cookie information use by 3rd party service providers, please visit their website linked below.
If you wish to disable cookies (opt-out), please access the opt-out pages of each 3rd party service provider described below and follow the steps to disable cookies. Please note that disabling cookies (opting-out) may restrict use of some services.

Service for optimization of advertising distribution

Service for website access analysis

List of opt-out pages

Opt-out page for Google Inc.:
Opt-out page for Google Inc. DoubleClick cookie:
Opt-out page for Yahoo Japan Corporation:
Opt-out page for FreakOut, Inc.:
Opt-out page for Facebook, Inc.:
Opt-out page for D.A.Consortium Inc.:

Use of Google Analytics

Kanebo Group Companies use Google Analytics on their websites to collect information for marketing and promotion, conduct statistical analysis of website usage, perform maintenance and management, and solve problems. Even though Google Analytics collects user information via cookies, information that can be used to identify an individual is not collected. User information collected by Google Analytics via cookies shall be managed by Google in accordance with Google’s privacy policy.
If you refuse to have your information collected by Google Analytics on?Kanebo Group Companies websites, you can suspend collection of information by enabling the Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on on the following Google page.
Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on

For more details on the information collected by Google Analytics and Google’s privacy policy, please visit the following Google websites. Please note that none of the?Kanebo Group Companies shall be responsible for any damages resulting from the use of Google Analytics services.
Google Analytics Terms of Services
Google Policy and Terms

Page Top