Adult acne refers to acne occurring in individuals past 25 years of age. By this time, most teenage acne has resolved. However, an estimated 5 % of men and 30% of women continue to or start to have some form of acne after their teenage years.
Adult acne is also the term used to refer to acne that started in adult life. There are many scenarios that can accompany the adult onset of acne such as pregnancy, perimenopause, other hormonal changes and stress. There is also a form of acne that is found in adults suffering from rosacea, called acne rosacea, but this will not be discussed in this section (see rosacea).
Adult acne that is a continuation of teenage acne becomes an issue when it is cannot be controlled by traditional acne therapy. When treating teenage acne, the assumption is that we are trying to get through a difficult period, after which the acne will resolve on its own and medications will no longer be needed. Since there isn’t a foreseeable time when acne either starts or continues into adulthood, looked for a long term solution, or a drug-free solution is more common. Often Isotretinoin (Accutane) is considered in these cases (even without true cystic or scarring acne) in an to attempt to cure acne.
The treatment of acne in adults is different from that of teenagers; the skin may be drier or more sensitive causing it to be more difficult to use traditional acne therapy. The use of photodynamic therapy and other light based therapies along with hormonal therapies, such as spironolactone in women, is more common. Having acne is every bit as distressing to adults as it is to adolescents.