So This Is Why You’re Still Getting Acne In Your 20s And 30s

And it's probably not the reason you think.

Woman with acne

Ask any girl to hazard a guess about why acne often persists well into our 20s and 30s and she’ll probably say, ‘Um, I dunno, hormones?’

And in part she’d be right, but it’s not menstrual cycle-related hormones that are to blame. Nope, according to skincare expert, aesthetician and owner of The Ice Clinic Julie Jacob French there’s another pesky hormone that’s causing our skin to flare up, and not surprisingly, it’s caused by stress.

“In today’s world, women’s stress levels are much higher due to working and raising a family,” Julie explains. “This elevated stress then causes inflammation and the body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to the over-production of oil.”

Once that happens, you can pretty much guess what comes next: the pores get clogged and painful, cystic acne begins to flare up, most commonly along the chin and jawline.

The big problem? You can’t treat it like you would teenage acne. In fact, Julie warns that most treatments on the market are very drying on the skin and will only lead to further problems.

So how should you deal with it?

Making sure you’re getting adequate sleep is the first step to reducing your cortisol levels, while eliminating sugary foods from your diet can reduce metabolic stress. It may also help to look at any underlying causes of stress in your life, and working towards improving them.

For Julie however, the first step in combatting acne would be speaking to a professional.

“There is no one size fits all answer,” she warns, “but one thing is for sure, with the right treatment you can control this problem and get your skin looking healthy and clear.”

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