Ask The Expert: Is There An Age When Acne Just Goes Away?

November 09, 2017

Ask The Expert: Is There An Age When Acne Just Goes Away?

Acne is often associated with the teenage years of one’s life. But that brings us to an important question—is there actually an age where acne just goes away? Do you wake up one year on your birthday, only to discover a perfectly clear complexion? Well, that certainly would be nice…but we had a hunch that wasn’t the case. Still, we turned to the experts to tell us the truth. As it turns out, acne can be a skin issue from infancy (really!) through adulthood. 

As you’d expect, the teenage years are in fact the most common time to have acne, with Mayo Clinic sharing that the prevalence of acne in teens is reported at 70 to 87 percent. Hear that teens? You aren’t alone! Unfortunately, if you were hoping to wave farewell to acne once you hit the ripe old age of 20, that isn’t always what happens. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there’s no guarantee that acne will end with your teenage years. Some people have acne well into their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s.

Why Do You Still Have Acne as an Adult?

When you’re planning for your acne to disappear once you’re no longer a teenager, it can be particularly frustrating to be dealing with breakouts still as an adult. According to the AAD, even those who only had a few pimples here and there as teenagers could develop severe acne as an adult.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the AAD shares that women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. If you have acne as an adult, it could be due to a variety of reasons—not just your gender. Some of the most common causes are fluctuating hormone levels (i.e. if you’re pregnant or menopausal, on your period, or going off of birth control pills), stress, a family history of acne, and reactions to skin care products. 

What Should You Do About Adult Acne?

Since there isn’t always a clear end in sight for acne, it’s best to develop a plan of action. The AAD lays out the following tips for those with pregnancy acne—which isn’t so different from how to handle any form of adult acne.


It's a popular misconception that harsh products are always required for treating acne. In reality, often the best thing you can do for your skin is to be gentle with it. Twice a day—morning and night—wash with a mild facial cleanser and lukewarm water.


Shampoo and acne may be on completely different plains in your mind, but they can be connected. If you have acne around your hairline, the problem could be with how you’re washing your hair. The ADD suggests switching to shampooing every single day.


Think of your acne as an antique store, and don’t touch. Picking and squeezing blemishes can cause more harm than good, causing infections and scarring.


Remember when we said your acne could be caused by the products you use? Well, if you stay away from irritating products, that’s much less likely to happen. Instead, use products labeled non-comedogenic.


Everything that touches your skin can impact your complexion. That means you’ll want to keep your hair clean and off your face. Make hair ties and headbands your new BFFs. It’s also a good idea to not rest your hands or your phone on your face.


When nothing seems to be working for your acne, the AAD says to seek out a dermatologist. Just because acne can last long beyond the age of 19, doesn’t mean there aren’t effective treatments for adults.

Can You Get Acne Before Becoming a Teen?

As you now know, acne isn’t reserved for only your high school years. Not only can it last much longer, but it can start much earlier. There’s even something called baby acne. It may sound a little silly, but according to Mayo Clinic, baby acne is acne that develops on a newborn’s skin. Baby acne is common and temporary, and thankfully, usually clears up on its own. 

While that means baby acne won’t be following you throughout your childhood, it is true that younger children are getting acne as well—puberty doesn’t have to be a prerequisite. 

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