5 Lifestyle Factors Which Can Affect Acne

Are you still battling acne as an adult? Now that you’re older, you will probably think that you’re well past the days where acne would be a daily issue. Puberty is a common cause of acne, with around 8 in 10 teenagers experiencing issues with the skin condition, but hormones aren’t the only issue to blame for spots and pimples.

Around 15% of adults suffer from some form of adult acne and it is interesting that you can get acne as an adult, even if you didn’t suffer with it as a teenager. Whilst the condition looks the same, adult acne is made up of breakouts which are different from those that teenagers usually get. Adults only tend to get acne on the lower half of the face or on the body, such as the back or chest, and the acne is usually deeper and can appear as cysts or under skin pimples which can’t be drained.

So, what’s causing acne as an adult? The most popular culprit is changing hormone levels, such as premenstrual dips, pregnancy hormones and contraceptive influences. Cosmetics, skincare routines and other lifestyle factors can also be to blame, with things you may not have even considered.

Hairstyling products

Breakouts which are caused by hair care and hairstyling products are that common that they even have a name – pomade acne. Different styling products can leave residue on the forehead and face, which can trap bacteria in your pores, which lead to acne.

These clogged pores then become inflamed and result in pus, redness and blackheads. Many times, the products you use on your hair, such as shampoo, conditioner and hairspray, can cause acne issues on your face, back and chest, so you should apply products with your hands and keep them away from your face and hairline.


If you’ve got a lot going on at work or at home, then this stress can cause a hormone imbalance which increases the levels of androgen hormones in your blood and suppresses your immune system, leading to stress-acne.

In order to prevent this, try to reduce your stress levels if you can. One great way of doing this is by soaking your feet in hot water and 200g of Epsom salts, as the salts contain magnesium which works to calm tense muscles. The microsystem in your feet contains plenty of nerve endings which then transmit soothing and calming signals to your brain. Remember, a calmer mind means calmer skin.

Poor diet

As a teenager, many of us believed that greasy takeouts and sugary snacks were the leading cause of our teenage breakouts and this can still be the case as an adult. Evidence shows that a high-carb diet may be a leading cause of adult acne, with diets high in refined carbs (such as white bread, pasta and cakes) can increase the severity of breakouts. Another trigger of acne is cow’s milk, particularly low-fat varieties as it contains a high sugar content and a large amount of progesterone hormones.

A great way to combat adult acne is to ensure that you are eating a well-balanced diet which contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses. Cut back on snacks, such as crisps and ice cream and switch white bread for whole-grain instead. There are some supplements you can take which will have a positive effect on your acne, such as high strength fish oil as the omega-3 acids in fish oil can help to calm down the appearance of breakouts.

Under or over cleansing

Pore-clogging beauty products and cosmetics is another leading cause of adult breakouts. However, the problem doesn’t lie with the products, but the way in which you remove them. There are many different ways in which women, in particular, see cleansing, whether it be an in-depth cleansing routine, using a single baby wipe or not bothering to remove it at all. After a long day, makeup, dirt, oil and grime build up on your skin and this causes your pores to clog, which then triggers breakouts.

Whilst you may think that cleansing, or even double cleansing, every day is the best thing for your skin, excessive washing will disturb your skin’s natural pH levels, which make it easier for bacteria to upset the skin. On the other hand, under cleansing your skin will just cause bacteria and grime to constantly build up and will leave you with oily, breakout-prone skin. To help reduce acne, you should use products which contain zinc to promote healing and bentonite clay which will purify and detoxify. Follow up with a calendula moisturiser to reduce further inflammation.

Taking calls

As a society, we’re always on our phones. Whether it be browsing social media or taking conference calls, large parts of our day is spent staring at a phone screen. Whilst all this connection is great, your phone can actually cause issues with your complexion. Throughout the day, you place your phone on multiple surfaces with bacteria on them and then, when you place the phone to your ear, you transfer this bacteria to your skin.

If you are scrolling your phone and then place your hands on your face, you are again transferring these germs. In order to avoid this, give your phone a clean with an alcohol wipe on a daily basis, especially if you keep it in your handbag or coat pocket.

Skip to toolbar