adult breakouts

3 mins read

Why Are You Breaking Out?

Why Are You Breaking Out?

Why Are You Breaking Out?

adult breakouts

3 mins read

story highlights

More people than ever are experiencing adult acne linked to chronic stress, hormonal changes, lifestyle and environment.
To keep breakouts under control, focus on managing stress and eating healthy, supplement your skin care routine with the right products, and seek professional advice.

If you’ve ever asked yourself “why am I breaking out?” you’re not alone. There’s no shortage of confusion when it comes to acne, but we’re here to help. Our skin health experts break down why most people break out – and how to avoid the most common acne triggers, or at least learn to manage them.

Chronic Stress

Acne is one of the first signs of a chronically-stressful lifestyle. Adult acne is particularly common among women, who are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men. Chronic stress triggers an increase in stress-related hormones, which send skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive and slow down cell turnover, creating the perfect conditions for acne breakouts. Stressed skin also tends to look tired, uneven, and prematurely-aged.

To reduce the effects of stress on skin, start with deep, slow breathing, which helps decrease tension and anxiety. As you work your way toward a less stressful lifestyle, incorporate preventative measures into your skin care routine such as exfoliation and a weekly masque to help reduce congestion.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Research has linked the sebaceous glands to the endocrine system, referring to the former as the “brain of the skin.” Stress plays a significant role when it comes to hormones. When the body produces excessive amounts of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, adrenal glands produce less progesterone – which is a natural anti-anxiety substance. This hormonal shift can lead to an internal imbalance, which may lead to breakouts.

In addition to reducing chronic stress, it may be helpful to track when you experience breakouts. If you notice a regular pattern, for example, breakouts after menstruation or routinely stressful encounters, talk to a Dermalogica skin therapist about how to adjust your skin care routine accordingly. If pregnancy, menopause or a medical concern arises, talk to your doctor.

Hormonal breakouts are often deep and painful and can take a long time to heal. Try Deep Breakout Liquid Patch to soothe and clear breakouts before they fully appear. This pregnancy-safe, invisible spot treatment transforms from liquid to patch to soothe, clear, and help prevent future breakouts.

Environmental Factors

From smoggy cities to humid summers, your skin might breakout when exposed to certain types of pollution, weather, and seasonal changes. It’s important to switch up your routine to respond to your skin’s changing needs. Exfoliation is an effective way of defending skin against breakouts by polishing away dull, dead skin cells. Daily Milkfoliant is a calming oat-based powder exfoliant that smooths and soothes skin. Daily Superfoliant is a highly-active resurfacer that helps fight environmental triggers known to accelerate skin ageing.

UV Exposure

UV radiation dehydrates skin, which can cause it to over-produce oil – so skin ends up even oilier, causing breakouts. Additionally, using the wrong sunscreen can clog pores, worsening acne and breakouts. Protect your skin with a broad spectrum SPF and get a lasting matte finish by applying an SPF moisturiser like Oil Free Matte SPF 30 every day.

Lifestyle Habits

Smoking, under-cleansing, wearing tight or itchy clothing, taking certain medications – all these are lifestyle habits that can affect the severity of one’s breakouts. Certain make-up, hair and skin care products can also contain pore-clogging ingredients that can trigger or exacerbate acne. To help keep pores clear, Double Cleanse daily with PreCleanse and Clearing Skin Wash.

Sugar Consumption

Eating lots of sugary, refined foods could contribute to breakouts by triggering more oil production in the skin. Stick to whole grains, vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods to help encourage clear skin. You can reduce excess oil with Salicylic Acid and clay-based products like our Sebum Clearing Masque. So, what if you’ve taken measures to curb all of the above and you’re still breaking out? See a professional skin therapist for more help finding out what the culprit is and get a personalized product prescription.


Want to learn more about which skin care products are right for you? Analyse your skin using our digital face mapping or visit your local Dermalogica skin therapist for a completely customized regimen.

Back to blog