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Why Am I Still Getting Acne in My 30s?

Why Am I Still Getting Acne in My 30s?

While acne affects as many as 50 million people in the United States, it’s generally associated with puberty and adolescence. For some, however, acne remains a problem and sometimes even emerges in adulthood.

Adult acne can develop anytime, even if you had clear skin in your teen years. It’s not uncommon for breakouts to occur in your late 20s, 30s, and even later in life. At MD Vein & Skin Specialists in Columbia, Maryland, Dr. Clement Banda and the team offer a wide range of effective treatments to help patients of all ages manage their acne.

Let’s examine the reasons why you may have acne in your 30s and what you can do to stop breakouts and enjoy blemish-free skin.

What causes adult acne?

Acne occurs when your pores can’t effectively eliminate the amount of oil (sebum) produced by your sebaceous glands. Sebum combines with dead skin cells to create a sticky concoction that plugs skin pores. 

Clogged pores show up on your skin as blemishes, such as blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples (pustules). Problems with your skin and pores can stem from a variety of factors, including:


Hormonal fluctuations throughout adulthood can increase sebum production, leading to clogged pores and acne. Women tend to experience hormonal acne more often than men due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. 

Medical conditions that affect hormone levels, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Cushing syndrome, often include acne as a side effect.


When you’re under emotional stress, your body produces more androgens. Like the hormonal fluctuations during puberty or perimenopause, high stress triggers your skin to produce more potentially pore-clogging sebum.

Physical stress, such as illness, lack of sleep, or dehydration, weakens your immune system, causing inflammation that leads to acne. Smoking and tobacco use also increase your risk of developing acne as an adult.

Using the wrong products

When you’re prone to acne, the products you use on your skin could worsen it. Some cosmetics and skin care items contain ingredients that can clog and irritate your pores. When you shop for moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, and other products, look for the following terms on the label:

Treating adult acne

Mild acne may clear up on its own or with minor lifestyle changes and over-the-counter products like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Here are our tips to keep breakouts to a minimum:

For more severe cases of adult acne,  Dr. Banda may recommend prescription-strength solutions such as oral or topical antibiotics, hormonal treatments, or other acne medication. We also offer surgical and laser treatments to clear up acne and the scars it can leave behind.

While adult and adolescent acne share some similarities, treatments that were effective as a teen may no longer work for you. The experts at MD Vein & Skin Specialists are here to help you achieve clear skin. Contact us to book an appointment today.

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