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Acne at Any Age - Why You Should Consider An Acne Regimen As An Adult

There are certain things we expect to leave behind in high school: braces, our first love, teenage drama, just to name a few. You might expect annoying zits to make the list, but unfortunately, acne is a condition that can erupt well after your teen years.

Adult acne is clinically defined by breakouts that occur when you’re over the age of 25, and experts say it’s on the rise, particularly amongst women.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 70% of people over age 20 are still getting breakouts; 26% of women over 40 and 15% over 50 are seeing breakouts. Perricone MD’s own research revealed people in their 60s complain of pimples, too. What’s going on? And how can we banish acne at any age? The answer lies in understanding what really causes acne, and zeroing in on the right regimen to treat it. 

First, What’s Causing Your Breakouts?

The same factors that created your zits back when you had your learner’s permit are still causing your acne today: excess oil, bacteria, and inflammation. Let’s break them down, starting with oil, or what’s formally known as sebum. Teens typically have a lot of oil thanks to those raging hormones. But as you age, your skin may still continue to make a lot of it. Genetics play a role in determining how oily (or dry) your skin is, but other factors can spur excess oil production, too. Hormonal changes (like those that occur during your menstrual cycle), stress (stress hormones cause your sebaceous glands to be more active), and even harsh products that strip away your natural moisture can all cause oil production to go into overdrive. Once you have the presence of excess oil, you have the potential for it to become trapped inside your pores along with dead skin and dirt. It also creates a hospitable environment for bacteria to grow, which brings us to the next cause of acne. 

The long, scientific name is Propionibacterium acnes, but you’ll hear it referred to as p. acnes bacteria. Researchers have identified it as the type of bacteria that causes breakouts. It lines your pores and noshes on all that oil we mentioned above, which allows it to grow.

When you have too much p. acnes bacteria, your body responds with an inflammatory response—the third root cause of acne. Inflammation causes swelling inside the pore, and there you have it: a big, red, angry pimple erupts, or you get a whitehead or a blackhead. 

Treating Your Adult Acne

When you were a teen you might have reached for the strongest treatment you could find—perhaps, those alcohol-soaked pads that left your skin tingly and tight after a quick swipe. They weren’t great for your skin back then, but they’re especially harsh for adult skin, which tends to dry out faster than teen skin. And as we mentioned, if you take away too much oil, your skin starts pumping out more of it to compensate for the dryness. Plus, researchers have come to understand that skin’s surface is made up of both good and bad bacteria called skin’s microbiome. It’s a delicate balance that keeps skin healthy and happy. If you kill off every last bit of bacteria, including the good stuff, you leave your skin vulnerable to dryness and irritation.

Photo of closeup of facial skin

So, how should you treat your breakouts as an adult? The real key to beating your breakouts is a comprehensive regimen that acts on all three causes of acne—the excess oil, the bacteria, and the inflammation—without being harsh and disrupting skin’s natural balance.

Get Real Acne Relief From Perricone MD

The focus on skin’s microbiome and all three causes of acne are what separates the Acne Relief Prebiotic Acne Therapy line from other acne treatments on the market. The line, which consists of the Gentle & Soothing Cleanser, the Calming Treatment & Hydrator, and the Retinol Treatment & Moisturizer is packed with potent acne-fighters, but also calming, soothing, and hydrating ingredients.

Photo of Perricone MD Acne Relief


Maintaining balance in bacteria is the key to clear, healthy skin. Perricone MD also takes that prebiotic approach to acne (think of prebiotics as food for good bacteria), fostering a healthier microbiome. Some of the top ingredients in Acne Relief products include:


This oil is found in the human body, but in topical treatments it’s derived from olive oil. It absorbs quickly, delivering major hydration without leaving skin’s surface greasy. Squalane is in the Gentle & Soothing Cleanser and works to replenish any moisture lost in the cleansing process. Also find it in the Calming Treatment & Hydrator.


As you might’ve guessed by its name, this mild exfoliant comes from sugar. In the cleansing step, sucrose helps unhinge dead skin and debris from your pores. Plus, the sugar molecule helps encourage the growth of good skin bacteria.


This amino acid found in watermelon, known for its calming effects, is in both the Calming Treatment & Hydrator and the Retinol Treatment & Moisturizer.


A potent antioxidant (a.k.a. vitamin B3) that also calms irritated, cranky skin. It helps to visibly reduce redness associated with breakouts, and works to improve skin tone as your blemishes heal. Find it in the Retinol Treatment & Moisturizer.

Lactic and succinic acids

These fatty acids help shrink down blemishes, while promoting more good bacteria in your skin. Find them in the Calming Treatment & Moisturizer.

Salicylic acid

You’ll see this beta hydroxy acid in many acne products. That’s because it works. Salicylic acid helps to dissolve dead skin, helping to clear those clogged pores. Salicylic acid is in all of the Acne Relief line.


Retinol is a well-known wrinkle-fighter. But before it was used to smooth lines, topical vitamin A and its derivatives were (and still are) used to correct the appearance of acne. That’s because retinol helps to increase surface cell renewal, opening and clearing clogged pores, so zits can’t form. The result is clear skin without the irritation. Find it in the Retinol Treatment & Moisturizer. 

The Fringe Benefits

Yes, the focus of Acne Relief line is, of course, acne. But because the products also include potent antioxidants, calming ingredients, hydrators, and prebiotics, less breakouts may not be the only benefit you see from the acne regimen. Less oil, visibly smaller pore size, less redness, and more glow have all been reported by those who use the line. 

If you’re ready to try a well-rounded regimen and take a prebiotic approach to treating your adult acne, check out the Perricone MD Acne Relief Prebiotic Acne Therapy 90-Day Regimen.