How To Get Rid Of Adult Acne In Men

We all know what it’s like to have a zit. It can be painful and irritating, and could even put a damper on your self-esteem, especially when it lingers before important events.

Pimples are often associated with puberty, and it’s extremely common for teenagers. But acne often doesn’t stop there. A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that 40% of young adult males, specifically those in their twenties, suffer from acne.

What Causes Acne

Acne forms when the bacteria, P acnes, gets trapped in a pore. Sensing this bacterial invader, our body’s immune system goes into battle mode, and we can see this immune response displayed as red bumps and pustules on the skin.

One of the predominant causes of acne is fluctuating testosterone levels. The most drastic of these shifts usually happen during puberty, but it continues to happen throughout adulthood for both men and women. When testosterone levels rise, oil glands are activated to secrete more oil, which increases the chances of clogged pores.


What other factors can possibly contribute to the development of acne breakouts?

  • Greasy skin care or hair care products. Certain ingredients from your hair gel, pomade, or beard oil can mix with sweat and end up clogging your pores.
  • Steroids. Taking anti-inflammatory steroids, like prednisone, and anabolic steroids can upset the body’s hormonal balance and trigger flare-ups.
  • Working long hours and not getting enough sleep. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Patrick Blake, explains that stress or anxiety can cause an increase in cytokines, chemical signals that activate oil production.

Common Acne Myths

Before we get to discussing acne treatments, let’s debunk a few common misconceptions about acne.

  • Greasy food, like chips and chicken wings, cause flare-ups. Although bad for your health, greasy foods do not contribute directly to acne formation. Dr. Lawrence Green, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine, explains that there is no direct correlation between your diet and acne. However, there is a theory that eating food high in a certain type of carbohydrates causes an increase in insulin levels, which then causes an increase in testosterone.
  • Poor hygiene causes acne. It certainly is important to have good hygiene, but Dr. Green says acne has less to do with hygiene, and more with genetics and hormones. You might even be over-cleansing with harsh soaps and chemicals that may aggravate your condition.
  • Don’t put on moisturizer when you have oily, acne-prone skin. Even oily, acne-prone skin needs to be kept hydrated! Look for an oil-free, non-comedogenic, or non-clogging moisturizer.



There are several options for acne treatment. If you’re intimidated by the array of acne products on the market, begin with lower strength products to first calm down redness and unclog pores. Gradually increase the strength of your product until you find one that works well for you.

Some Synthetic Options

  • Antibiotics. Fewer people are turning to antibiotics to combat acne. Long usage of antibiotics may increase bacterial resistance, making the drugs less effective with long term use.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane). Used to treat severe acne. Isotretinoin is a drug derived from Vitamin A designed to shrink pores. While it is effective for some people, it comes with severe potential side effects. Among these are skin sensitivity to the sun, rashes or peeling, headaches, fatigue, mental and mood changes.

Some Natural Options

  • Witch Hazel is an anti-inflammatory astringent that reduces skin irritation and shrinks pores.
  • Peppermint Oil cools and soothes inflammation, balances natural oils, stimulates blood flow, and rejuvenates the skin.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil is an antibacterial agent that moisturizes while it helps lift dead skin and product trapped in hair follicles.
  • Tamanu Oil is an anti-inflammatory oil that is rich in fatty acids, locks in moisture, and promotes dermal healing.
  • Honey contains antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to high amounts of Vitamin B, C, and essential minerals. It loosens dirt and dead skin cells while it locks in moisture.
  • Bentonite Clay is a popular mask ingredient used to draw out toxins, eliminate impurities, and calm irritated, itchy skin.
  • Activated Charcoal is used in masks or soaps, as it draws out bacteria, toxins, and impurities.
  • Aloe Vera relieves skin irritation and hydrates skin, without leaving an oily or greasy residue.

FDA Approved Ingredients That Can Be Sourced Naturally

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids. AHAs can come from fruits such as grapefruit, grapes, and bananas. They help remove dead skin cells, loosen dirt and makeup, and unclog pores.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids. BHAs can also be sourced from fruits such as raspberries, granny smith apples, cucumber, and cantaloupe. They gently rub off the surface of the skin, promoting skin cell turnover.
  • Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid, a type of Beta Hydroxy Acid, can be derived from willow bark extract. It exfoliates, unclogs pores, and prevents the formation of dark spots.

These are just some of the options available to fight acne. Keep in mind that your skin is unique and different; what works for others may not work for you. Pay attention to your skin and how it reacts to your chosen treatment. Trial and error is key.

Treating acne might be a long, frustrating battle, but you’re already on the right path! Arming yourself with the right research, consulting with the right people, and finally, searching for the right, skin-friendly products is the best place to start.

We are here to help hope you find the right treatment for your skin. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have!



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