The teenage years are notorious for causing breakouts and acne, and most women are happy to know they’ve left those problems behind—or have they? Adult acne is a common problem in women of all ages. A better understanding of the causes of acne will help you understand why — and what you can do about it.

“I feel better, and my complexion has improved, too. I used to joke about having a worse complexion now than when I was a teen”.

Lynnea, customer

Like adolescent acne, adult acne is often caused by hormonal imbalance. Many women break out every month at the onset of their period, and acne is a common symptom of PMS. Acne is also associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that causes irregular or absent menstrual periods due to ovulation irregularities.

In women over 35, the hormonal fluctuations that orchestrate our periods tend to become more dramatic and unpredictable as you enter perimenopause and approach menopause — which can exacerbate hormonal acne. Many women who haven’t had a breakout since their teens or early twenties suddenly find themselves battling acne in their 40’s.

Does stress cause acne?

When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol ramps up the processes that help us deal with stressors, like converting protein to energy and releasing glycogen, and suppresses peripheral processes like digestion, cell regeneration and endocrine regulation. Unfortunately, most women are burdened with chronic, unrelenting stress, calling on the adrenal glands to continuously produce cortisol.

When cortisol is chronically elevated, the body doesn’t have the opportunity to shift its priorities back to its peripheral functions and it gradually deteriorates. A host of symptoms results, including fatigue, weight gain, depression and acne.

Acne and your diet

It’s a commonly debunked myth that eating certain foods causes breakouts — but this is not to say that your diet doesn’t matter when it comes to acne. Diets high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and trans fats, and low in antioxidants, create systemic inflammation, which manifests itself in your skin in the form of acne, rosacea, or premature aging.

American diets also tend to be high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, while low in inflammation-soothing omega-3’s. Righting this imbalance can go a long way in reducing inflammation and healing your skin.

You can put acne behind you

The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to prevent adult breakouts by solving the underlying causes of your acne, naturally.

We’ve had great success helping women overcome adult acne by restoring hormonal balance and optimizing their diet.