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10 Struggles Every Adult with Acne Experiences

Remember during your teenage years when you looked in the mirror and saw these small, red zits peeking back at you? It was indeed a surprising moment. And when you mentioned your concerns to your friends and relatives, many of them would tell you that the condition will disappear once you reach your adult years. 

But after you enter your early 20s, you still see those same exact zits, pop up at the same places. 

Why? You ask. 

Well, although many believe that acne disappears in your adult years, adult acne is really nothing new. Changes in hormones and genetics continue to trigger the condition. In fact, around 85 percent of those who identify as female and 15 percent of those who identify as male have experienced adult acne.  

Therefore, if you’re going through the condition, please do not panic. Acne in general always fluctuates depending on the environment, your menstrual cycle, and level of stress. It’s also important to note that there is a support system out there, as many of those who experience adult acne will feel the same way and be in a similar boat. But there is something that all of those with adult acne experience, and here are some examples: 

10 Struggles Every Adult with Acne Experiences

Going into skincare stores and being bombarded with products from salespeople.

Have you ever visited Orogold or another skincare store in an urban city and been followed by a salesperson to ‘purchase’ or ‘try out’ a new product? In these scenarios, people who experience adult acne may think that they are being targeted since the employees may be trying to take advantage of their skin condition for a commission.

Indeed, it’s very impolite and insulting to use a skin condition as the selling point. But at the end, you should not rely on these salespeople to buy a product, but a dermatologist or skin care technician. 

Feeling queasy whenever talking about beauty products.

Imagine conversing with a friend or a classmate about new foundations, moisturizers, cleansers, or toners. The conversation all seems to be going smoothly, until your friend makes the statement:

“Will this product give me more breakouts? I already have enough.”

You instantly feel reprimanded, as you know that your friend or whoever you’re talking to, can see your pimples. The statement makes you cringe, as you’re unsure if you could give advice or respond. You may even feel offended since other people are unaware of the situations and stress you go through due to your condition. 

Dealing with the “I can’t believe you still have breakouts!” comment.

Many still think that acne magically disappears as soon as you exit your teenage years. So, when you tell them that you’re an adult and they see that you have acne, they will stare at you in disbelief or tell you that they don’t understand why you have breakouts. The stigma of acne still continues to exist, and it is unfortunately devastating.

The best you can do is educate them that acne does not disappear with age, but is a result of the environment around you. Allow them to know that you are continuously trying to fix the situation, and seeking help from dermatologists that offer personalized treatments like the prescription-strength azelaic acid for acne.

Dealing with others asking if you’re still in “high school.”

People always perceive those with acne to be in high school, because again, they think that only teenagers are the ones who deal with acne. And when you tell them your actual age, they reply with: “What really? No way.” Then, you try to hide the agony that you feel inside of you.

Changing skincare routines constantly.

It’s hard to keep up with every single product introduced by the cosmetics market. This happens especially when your dermatologist might recommend a specific moisturizer, and your esthetician may recommend another one. As you begin to try the different products, you notice that a few of them are simply not the best for your skin type. Therefore, you move on to new products and hope that they can change your condition.

The cycle seems to continue and never end, until the breakout seems to be under control. But it’s best to experiment to see what works for you, and to change up the routine depending on the weather. 

Having a love-hate relationship with makeup.

Sometimes, you’ll feel the urge to cover some blemishes. However, at the same time, you also want to stop relying on makeup so much as you know that the product can cause more breakouts. It’s like a double-edged sword, and you aren’t sure which side to take.

However, there is a way to win the battle.

Remember to read the labels and buy hypoallergenic products that suit your skin type. Also, before and after applying makeup, remember to moisturize and cleanse thoroughly. You can also opt for a tinted moisturizer, if a foundation is supposedly too heavy.

Being questioned about your skin-care routine everyday.

Whenever people see that you have acne, they assume that you don’t have a consistent skincare routine – which is far from the truth. They’ll start asking you questions about medications, how you treat your skin, and give you reasons on why you should take care of your skin more.

Yes, these comments are harmful, but please note that the condition is not your fault, and everyone’s skin or skincare routine is different. 

Getting the comment to “change your diet.”

Many people assume that those with adult acne do not eat healthy. Although some foods such as grain, dairy, and fast food do amplify breakouts, please keep in mind that people should not judge your diet regardless of what. Therefore, if they tell you to eat more ‘healthy,’ you should know that many of those who make such comments don’t know your circumstances. 

Seeking dermatologists constantly.

When I first witnessed a pimple breakout, I remember booking appointments with dermatologists and my local family doctor constantly. But as an adult, you feel more of the pressure on your shoulders: So you begin to visit more dermatologists or skincare professionals.

However, please do not panic. The only person who knows your skin the best is yourself, and as long as you are confident in treating the condition, you won’t need to worry. 

Getting told that you have “Severe acne” by people even though you have mild acne.

For some lucky non-acne sufferers, they have never experienced a couple of breakouts. Sure, they’ve experienced the odd pimple or so, but to them, any breakout can be perceived as severe. Everyone’s perception on how severe or less-severe the blemishes are is subjective, so if someone says that you have severe acne, please note that everyone has a different opinion on skin conditions. Therefore, do not take it offensively or personally as severity is hard to measure in a subjective manner.

And regardless of how severe your acne is, I guarantee you that the breakouts will dissipate overtime. You just need to keep on doing what you’re doing and believe in the process. And even if some people keep on saying these 10 statements, shrug because you are the only one who knows your skin the best.

About the Author


Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you'll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.