Most adults will suffer from spots at some point in their adult lives, with a quarter of men and half of all women thought to be affected. A large percentage of those who develop acne on their face will also suffer from flare ups elsewhere on their body. Whereas we used to associate severe problems with adolescence, however, more and more adults appear to be developing the skin condition later in life, with some still being affected in their forties.
The root cause of adult active acne is not clear. Various factors could play a part, including:
It is thought to be the male hormone (androgens) that plays a role in causing the problem. It increases the production of sebum, which then blocks pores and hair follicles, resulting in spots. Women go through hormonal changes at various stages of their lives, and may be more likely to develop acne during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause.
Stress, whether physical or emotional, can have a major impact on other areas of our health. It is possible that when stress causes an inflammatory response in the body, this can affect the pores. When this happens, spots can develop. Another theory is that stress can result in an excess in the production of androgens by the adrenal gland, which can lead to an increased number of blemishes.