ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have acne as an adult, but didn't suffer from it as a teenager?

Question

Why do I have acne as an adult, but didn't suffer from it as a teenager?

I am a 27 year old mother of three. I never had acne, much less a pimple when I was a teenager. After each child, my face has gotten progressively worse. I have tried over the counter face washes and prescription erythromyacin but nothing helps. Should I see a dermatologist?

Answer

Rarely, worsening acne in adult women can be a sign of a worsening hormonal imbalance. However, this is usually also accompanied by other symptoms, such as changes in and irregularity of the menstrual periods, increasing facial hair, and thinning of hair on the head. In the absence of these other symptoms, it is unlikely that this is what is going on. Unfortunately, for some women, pregnancy can be a trigger of worsening acne, and this may not clear up entirely after the pregnancy is over. It is thought to be mostly related to surges of hormones during the pregnancy but for unclear reasons may stick around afterwards. Adults sometimes have more acne than they had as teenagers because they use more facial products, such as creams and cosmetics. You may want to make sure that you are not provoking the problem yourself by using products that clog your pores. Over the counter face washes, if they contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, should do the trick for most mild cases of acne. Topical erythromycin is also an excellent treatment. So if these have not worked for you, then it is definitely time to seek help from your doctor, either a dermatologist or your primary care doctor.

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