One of the biggest pains a teenager goes through is dealing with zits. But more adults in their 30s are still fighting acne breakouts, and they don’t know why. Waiting until you hit your 20s to have clear, beautiful skin and then face bitter disappointment only to deal with acne bombardments all over again can really put a damper on life (especially if wrinkles are forming at the same time). Coming to terms with adult acne is a very challenging thing–just know you are not alone in being the only grown woman dealing with zit breakouts.

Why do Adults Get Acne Breakouts?

Multiple dermatology studies show that adult acne has increased, and many deal with it into their 50s up into menopause. Understanding why you have acne is the first step to effectively treating it. Here are some of the more popular causes of adult acne:

Hormones – Fluctuation in hormones before the menstrual cycle is the main cause for hormone-triggered adult acne breakouts in women. This type generally involves deep cystic acne around the chin, back, and neck.

Pollution – Simply put, air pollution puts a layer of crap on your face. If you live in the city you get it even worse. To really get a good idea for how dirty your face gets from air pollution, try this simple experiment: the next time you spend more than an hour outside, go back home and wipe your face with a moist wipe or acne pad and notice its color. Spoiler alert: you aren’t going to be pleased with the color.

Stress – Stress is a very common cause of adult acne. Whether you have a full-time demanding job, you are a busy mom, or you juggle career and family while walking other fine lines, chances are you have a high stress level. When we experience stress the adrenal gland produces cortisol to combat the stress levels. However, small amounts of testosterone escape into the body and for women this can stimulate oil glands to overproduce.

You Use the Wrong Products – If you use common drug store acne and skin care creams, you could be doing more harm than good. Many of these products contain oil that clogs your pores and only further stimulates acne production.

So What are the Best Acne Treatments?

Whether you have hyperpigmentation acne, or deep cystic acne around your chin, there are a number of things you can do before visiting a dermatologist. First, don’t cleanse your face more than twice a day or you can dry it out to the point that your body will produce excess oil. As for acne treatments, consider products from companies like Envy Medical that produce oil-free daily skin care treatments that also offer anti-aging benefits to kill your acne and restore your youthful glow. Avoid eating oily, fried food. Get at least eight hours of sleep. Talk to your doctor about having your hormones checked. And to help combat stress consider talking to a life coach for women specializing in parenting and career help; these professionals are not therapists but instead work with clients to help them understand what they truly want to live a fulfilled life followed by setting a plan and taking the steps to live happy. Finally, avoid touching your face. Some of us are in the habit of touching our foreheads or chin when we think, or we just place our face in our hands. When you do this oil and unseek dirt on your hands sinks into facial pores causing a feast for acne breakouts. Invest in practical treatments and lifestyle changes, and your face will love you for it!