Why am I suddenly getting acne?
A random pimple showing up unannounced, for most people, can be quite disconcerting or mildly bothersome. But a full blown acne episode occurring overnight is enough to invoke panic even in the most levelheaded people. And if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in such a position, its possible then that you could start tormenting yourself with questions such as,' why am I suddenly getting acne?' or 'Why is my skin not as good as the models that I see on TV?"
Not to worry though; while suddenly getting acne is not exactly a pleasant experience, it's not the end of the world either. And fortunately for you, we have taken the trouble to analyze, expound and investigate some of the reasons for your acne suddenly getting worse and put together a comprehensive write up that will help you understand your skin woes better.
Why Suddenly Getting Adult Acne?
Sudden acne breakouts are the culmination of a number of reasons. You see, adult-onset acne is presently ranked as the eighth common skin problem on the planet. There are literally tens of millions of people battling blackheads, small pustules and whiteheads as we are speaking. Women, especially, have a higher propensity and likelihood to get adult acne than their male counterparts all other factors held constant.
Adult acne, in this case, is often manifested by papules which cover between 25% and 85% of the back and or face. Severe adult acne, like the one you are probably dealing with at the moment, is accompanied by extreme swelling, redness, deep cysts and irritation. Read on to find out the exact cause and treatment of your flare ups, particularly if you are curious and asking yourself, 'Why am I suddenly getting adult acne?'
1. Hormonal Fluctuations
Hormonal imbalance is the most likely of reasons behind suddenly getting acne again years after the last teenage breakout spell. Here is the thing; excessive or fluctuation of female or male hormones can trigger an almost sudden flare up overnight since these inconsistent androgen spikes interfere massively with the body's fine homeostatic balance. The changes that they influence on the skin and body's internal environment have a knock-on effect that eventually culminates in pimples and papules.
These changes be:
- Skin cell inflammation
- pH imbalance
- Excessive sebum production
- Circulation differences
Among women, the hormonal fluctuations can be as result of bodily changes during pregnancy, menstruation, postpartum recovery and breastfeeding. Speaking of which, hormonal acne tends to be cyst-like and deep and mostly tender on touch.
2. Constant Irritation and Skin Abuse
Getting lot of acne at 35 suddenly could be as a result of constantly irritating your skin triggering a form of inflammation reaction as a consequence. The irritation could be as a result of the abrasive action of shaving razors, aggressive exfoliation regimens or even using the wrong type of cleansers. If anything, the current nationwide requirement and enforcement of the use of the face masks every time you go out in public has been reported to cause minimal breakouts in people with very sensitive skin types.
The main reason behind this observation is that each time you abuse and peel away the epidermis in an uncontrolled fashion, the sustained irritation has the potential to lower your skin's defenses significantly predisposing you to repeated inflammation and, eventually, pimples.
3. Chronic Emotional Stress
Battling long term emotional stress could be the reason you are getting lot of acne at 35 suddenly. You see, emotional stress has a way of introducing unwarranted biological changes in one's body that could easily lead to various triggers on adult onset acne. Your adrenal glands, for instance, tend to make more cortisol hormone whenever you feel pressured, anxious or scared. And if this happens frequent enough, it could eventually result in biochemical imbalance that causes the skin to flare up.
4. Extreme Physical Stress
Just like mental and emotional stress, extreme physical stress is also another trigger of hormonal changes, lessened immunity and cell inflammation that could later combine to adult onset acne. Physical stress can arise from any of the following:
- Lack of sufficient sleep
- A chronic debilitating illness
- Extreme and sudden weather change
- Exposure to pollutants and environment irritants
Research shows individuals who have migraines and allergies, as well as habitual smokers, are more likely to suffer from adult acne than other people. The rising cases of air pollution, particularly in cities, is also to blame for the increased cases of adult acne.
5. Clogged Skin Pores
Excessive sebum production and poor skin hygiene can combine forces to to clog your skin pores with a mixture of dead cells and oil. This is exactly what the p.acnes bacteria needs to kickstart a series of activities that eventually culminates to adult acne.
6. Intake of Certain Foods and Medications
Although the belief that eating certain foods can lead to acne is not yet entirely unanimous, one cannot dismiss the impact that excessive consumption of processed goods, diary, sweets and refined flour has on one's complexion.
The same can be said about medications, with certain treatment protocols being on the record for triggering adult acne. This includes certain antidepressants, corticosteroids, and epilepsy drugs. And while contraceptives have been used in the past to treat and control adult acne, there are certain versions of them that are responsible for occasional breakouts and flare ups.
Why Suddenly Getting Acne on Face and Neck
As discussed above, acne is mainly a characteristic aftermath of blocked pores, either with sebum, dead skin cells or p.acnes bacteria activity. And if you are asking yourself, 'why am I suddenly getting acne on my neck?' then it could be that:
- You are not washing your face and neck regularly, especially after an intense physical activity
- You are using a beauty product (makeup, moisturizer, sunscreen, hair spray) that blocks and interferes with the optimum breathability of your skin pores.
- Constantly wearing equipment or clothing that rubs aggressively against your neck
- Having long and oil hair that rubs constantly against your neck
There could be other explanations for the curiosity of 'why am is suddenly getting acne on face?' and this includes; chronic stress, sudden change of diet, medication, family history and hormonal fluctuations.
Why Suddenly Getting a lot of Body Acne
If you are constantly quizzing yourself with questions like, 'Why am I suddenly getting acne everywhere?' then this next part is for you.
Just like your neck and face, a combination of grime, bacteria activity and oil on your skin can trigger a series of breakouts and flare ups pretty much anywhere - from your arms, chest, back, butt or legs. Body and facial acne share a few similarities and both derive their impetus from overactive sebaceous glands, colonization by p.acnes bacteria, and accumulation of dead skin cells.
There is one difference, however, between the two and this could also be the main explanation for suddenly getting a lot of body acne. Body acne or acne-like pimples on other parts of the body other than the face are mainly as a result of inflammation that is triggered by folliculitis.
Anyone who has ever attempted to treat a bad breakout case, nonetheless, knows that rarely is suddenly getting back acne as a result of just a single cause. Chances are, it is a combination of several different prevailing factors that come together to cause a perfect storm but somehow in the most inopportune of times.
For starters, one of the main reasons you are suddenly getting lots of back acne stems from the overactive sebaceous glands that tend to be more on the chest and the back. The bacteria that is responsible for most skin flare ups tends to have an affinity to the oily environment that is a characteristic of skin surfaces populated by these glands which could explain why papules and blackheads are common on the neck, back and chest area.
Secondly, pollution and poor skin hygiene is the next biggest trigger of body acne particularly when paired with hormonal changes. Other outside factors include the fabrics that we wear, laundry detergent used, exercise frequency and even our dietary regimen (or lack thereof).
Treatment of Adult Acne
There are several acne adult treatments that you can pursue to ensure that you always have a clear complexion, regardless of the season or weather. They include a few prescriptions, OTC products and even a collection of home remedies.
1. Home Remedies
There are several home treatments of adult acne practices that you can pursue without putting an unnecessary strain on your bank balance. Under this category, some of the most effective remedies revolve round aloe vera salve, apple cider vinegar, green tea extract, zinc, vitamin A, tea tree oil, probiotics etc.
Using products that can fight inflammation in your day-to-day cleansing and skin care routine can also offer some level of relief. Therefore, normalize prioritizing beauty products that contain skin soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and centella asiatica alongside other known acne-fighting agents as salicylic acid.
That being said, home remedies are mostly only effective against mild adult acne cases. You may want to explore other comprehensive and professional avenues if the symptom persists as it may be an indication of a more serious underlying dermatological problem.
2. Topical Treatments
The most effective acne-fighting topical treatments usually have an array of science-backed active ingredients as part of their working strategy. This what makes them very successful in clearing breakouts and also limiting their occurrence in the near future, it includes:
- Salicylic acid - It is a kind of chemical exfoliant that works by dissolving the stubborn bonds between those dead skin cells that later agglomerate to trigger inflammation and pustules. In short, it helps improve the breathability of your skin pores by sloughing away any blockages that could build up to a blockage. And being oil soluble means that it has a better working efficiency than other water-based active ingredients. What's more, for most people, salicylic acid is gentle enough for one to use on their entire face without risking secondary flare ups.
- Lactic acid: Another chemical exfoliant, and its also gentle enough to be ideal for those new to these unique types of exfoliants. You will find lactic acid in most toners, serums and chemical peels that are meant to control body acne
- Polyhydroxy acids: They include the likes of lactobionic and gluconolactone acid and are a different class of new generation chemical exfoliants. They are best suited for people with extremely sensitive skins who cannot stand topical acne treatments that contain salicylic acid.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: It works by eliminating the acne bacteria that is responsible for the flare ups while simultaneously exfoliating the skin pores. While it may not be as gentle as the other chemical exfoliants described above, its considered to be much more effective at stopping the progression at its tracks. Just remember to apply a moisturizer after using a topical treatment that employs benzoyl peroxide as its main active ingredient.
- Sulfur: Has been found to be quite effective for controlling acne-bumps that are as a results of conditions such as rosacea.
There are primarily vitamin A derivatives, this includes other variations such as retinaldehyde and retinol. Usually, you will come across them in most over-the-counter topical treatments and a few prescription-only versions. Apart from being a potent adult acne control remedy there are also considered to be highly effective anti-aging emollients too.
The biggest downside, however, is that retinoids can be comparatively harsher on the skin, something that makes them unsuitable for use by people with hyper-senstive skin and new users who have never been exposed to them before. That being said, you can attempt to neutralize this by limiting their use to only a few days a week as the body acclimatizes to the new treatment routine. Otherwise, applying an ample amount of moisturizer afterward is also an excellent way of tempering the chemical harshness of retinoids.
4. Oral Medications
Depending on the root cause of the adult body acne, the dermatologist can recommend an oral medication in an attempt to tone down the severity of the breakouts without risking further skin irritation. Hormonal acne, for instance, is best treated with swallowable pills such as AENO Acne Perfect Skin Pills for Cystic Acne that helps bring some kind of balance to the internal processes that are responsible for flare ups.
In addition to this, oral retinoids such as isotretinoin (a.k,a Accutane) also rank among the big dermatological guns for fighting acne within a short timeframe.
5. Cortisone Injections
When it comes to adult cystic acne, simple OTC topical treatments are not likely to cut it. And since those angry-looking, big and painful zits run so deep into the skin, there are more likely to leave behind unsightly scars if you attempt to prod or pick them. Sometimes the only way to reduce their size is by attempting to drain them using a cortisone shot.
Be advised, however, that this is not a DIY or home treatment remedy. Cortisone injections have to be administered by a trained board-certified dermatologist who has prior experience in dealing with painful acne lesions using spot treatment shots.
Treating a sudden acne breakout calls for consistent adherence to a prescribed form of treatment from a board-certified dermatologist. But even then, they will also need to pay attention to all possible causes of a sudden breakouts enunciated above before attempting to prescribe a specific remedy.