Sadly, there is no “set age” for acne to disappear. While acne is usually associated with hormonal changes related to puberty, it can also affect adults.
While it’s challenging to determine precisely when acne will go away completely, the good news is that there are many remedies available for those looking to reduce current and future breakouts.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best remedies for managing and preventing acne and answer some frequently asked questions about how acne can affect you in all stages of life and how to deal with it.
What Type of Acne Lasts The Longest?
There are two types of acne: non-inflammatory and inflammatory.
The non-inflammatory type consists of black and whiteheads, which can remain as such and disappear on their own after a couple of weeks or turn into an inflamed pimple if enough bacteria accumulate into the clogged pore, causing the immune system to react by sending inflammatory signals to fight it.
On the other hand, the inflammatory type consists of pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules, which can last anywhere from two weeks up to years of discomfort if the root cause of the breakout is not appropriately addressed.
Out of all these acne types, cysts and nodules are thought to be the type that lasts the longest, as they are deeper in the skin and result from severe inflammation that can be difficult to treat and takes a long time to heal and recover.
When Does Acne Stop for Women?
Women typically start to get acne during puberty due to certain hormones like the androgens becoming more active and stimulating the oil glands into producing skin-lubricating oil.
Therefore, women would usually start to notice a few pimples here and there or a full-blown acne breakout from the age of thirteen through nineteen when their hormones are becoming more active.
Once this rocky period passes, acne for some women can gradually subside or even abruptly stop after the age of twenty when the hormonal levels have stabilized and the body has had time to adjust to new hormone levels.
However, it’s not uncommon for acne to persist well in your twenties and thirties, and many women may experience chronic acne way past puberty due to many reasons, including persisting hormonal imbalances, stress, inflammatory diet, genetics, menstrual cycles, and many everyday factors such as the use of clogging skincare and beauty products, and even the use of certain medications, such as birth control.
When Does Acne Stop for Men?
Similarly to women, men start experiencing a hormonal shift during their teenage years. This is also when most physical changes, like deepening of the voice and hair growth in areas like the chest and face occur, and acne usually shows up.
However, since boys usually start puberty later than girls, they are more likely to begin experiencing acne from around fifteen years old and continue until their early twenties.
In most cases, men experience a decline in pimples and acne outbreaks after the age of twenty-two, when their hormones have stabilized and their bodies have had time to readjust.
However, and once again, similarly to women, some men can continue to experience adult acne even after their twenties, especially those whose skin is on the oilier side or whose lifestyle and skincare habits don’t properly address this inflammatory skin concern.
How Long Does Adult Acne Last?
The duration of adult acne may vary greatly depending on individual factors such as age, hormones, lifestyle habits, nutrition, genetics, and many other things that can cause some people to get an occasional pimple or even a full-blown acne breakout, even in their forties.
Therefore, while it’s difficult to pinpoint how long acne may last because everyone is different and everyone’s skin reacts differently to potential triggers, it’s important to be aware of these and make some necessary changes to keep your skin healthy and clear.
How Long do Acne Scars Last?
Scars are the aftermath of a healed pimple, and they can last for different durations of time, depending on the severity of the pimple as well as the individual’s healing process.
Discolored acne scars are usually hyperpigmented scars that appear as brown or red spots in the place of a healed pimple.
Hyperpigmentation or brown spots usually remain on the skin for 6-12 months, and while they might take longer to fade fully, you should see significant improvement during this time frame, especially if you use a soothing face wash designed to reduce hyperpigmentation.
These scars occur when the inflammation from a pimple has triggered the enzyme tyrosinase into producing excess amounts of the brown pigment melanin, forming dark spots where the trauma occurred.
On the other hand, red spots, or post-inflammatory erythema, are scars that are slightly deeper than hyperpigmentation, and they occur when the pimple is deep and severe to the point where it causes the thin blood vessels under the skin to rupture.
Red spots are more noticeable in those with fair skin and can last for years because the underlying blood vessels need to heal for any improvement to be noticeable.
Finally, acne scars that have changed the skin’s texture, either through collagen disruption that has caused atrophy or a dent, or excess collagen production which has caused a thick, raised scar, are permanent and can only be removed with the help of professional treatments.
How to Stop Acne Breakouts Early?
No matter how mild at first, every pimple can become severely infected and enlarged, so it’s important to take early precautions and prevent further inflammation before it’s too late.
Here are the best ways to stop acne breakouts early before they have a chance to worsen and cause further skin damage:
Pay Special Attention to Cleanliness
Acne isn’t a condition that’s necessarily caused by poor hygiene; however, it can be exacerbated by uncleanliness.
For example, dirty hair with built-up oil can easily rub against the face and transfer dirt and bacteria that can exacerbate the condition.
Additionally, certain hairstyles, such as fringes constantly rubbing against the forehead, are commonly associated with a condition known as acne mechanica or friction-induced pustules.
Moreover, dirty pillowcases are another common factor responsible for exacerbating acne, as the dirt and oils from our hair rub off on the pillowcase, where we then put our faces and come in direct contact with the acne-exacerbating debris.
Furthermore, dirty phones, makeup brushes, headbands, and other items we put on our faces can also be a source of dirt and bacteria buildup and can exacerbate or even be the leading cause of acne.
Therefore, when trying to stop early breakouts, keeping the skin clean and eliminating factors that may come in direct contact with your skin and potentially exacerbate the condition is essential.
Check Your Beauty Products
Beauty products, including skincare, makeup, and haircare, frequently contain ingredients that may cause or exacerbate acne.
Therefore, to prevent breakouts from becoming more severe, thoroughly check your beauty products for potentially irritating or comedogenic ingredients that may be causing your issues.
Some known problematic ingredients for acne may include heavy oils, butters, waxes, stearates, and emollients, so trying to spot these in any of your beauty products is an excellent place to start when eliminating potential triggers.
On the other hand, you can opt for non-comedogenic products specifically designed for those with acne-prone skin and avoid any of the commonly problematic ingredients to promote a clearer complexion.
Have an Efficient Skincare Routine
Having a skincare routine that’s right for your skin type and addresses your skin concerns is essential, no matter what kind of acne you’re dealing with.
While an excellent skincare routine won’t help address internal issues like hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities, it can certainly help soothe irritated skin externally and reduce the severity of breakouts.
Additionally, certain ingredients found in skincare products designed for acne can help accelerate cellular turnover, which can prevent the pores from becoming clogged and leading to pimple formation.
Therefore, while this may not be a cure-all solution, having an efficient skincare routine designed for acne can undoubtedly help reduce the severity and frequency of breakouts.
Mind Your Diet
Striving to include more nourishing foods in your daily menu should definitely be on your to-do list if you are trying to prevent acne from becoming more severe.
This is because some foods are known to cause inflammation in the body due to elevating certain hormones, which can then trigger an overproduction of oil and cause pore-clogging, as well as create inflammation in our body that would overload our system and prevent it from fighting off pathogens efficiently and performing important bodily functions like getting rid of excess hormones, toxins, lymph, viruses, and bacteria.
Some of these can then make their way to the skin through stagnant lymph nodes and blood vessels, thus exacerbating and prolonging episodes of breakouts.
Therefore, to prevent your skin from becoming worse, it’s essential to consider making the right diet changes.
However, since changing your diet can be a somewhat confusing and complicated endeavor if you don’t have any guidance, check out GoodGlow’s ebook, a guide packed with information on how to heal your skin by making smart diet changes.
Try to Incorporate Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Similarly to cleanliness, lifestyle habits might not necessarily be behind the initial formation of acne; however, certain practices can sometimes exacerbate this condition and prolong the healing process.
For example, stress, lack of sleep, and even excessive smoking and drinking can all contribute to inflammation in the body which can potentially affect certain hormones through various components like sugar found in alcohol, the elevation of cortisol when we are stressed, and adrenaline, when we aren’t well rested.
Therefore, to keep your hormones balanced and prevent acne from worsening, introduce healthy lifestyle habits into your daily routine – such as exercising regularly, managing stress appropriately, getting enough sleep, and hydrating your body with enough water throughout the day.
When Should You See a Doctor About Acne Breakouts?
Visiting your doctor as early as possible is recommended, especially if the breakouts aren’t responding to any of the remedies mentioned above.
Visiting a dermatologist while acne is in its early stages can help professionals identify the underlying cause easier and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Additionally, a doctor can give you access to prescription medications, such as topical antibiotics and oral retinoids, that can help reduce inflammation quicker than over-the-counter products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acne cannot be cured because this condition is caused by the overgrowth of bacteria that reside on our skin.
While usually neutral, this strain of bacteria can become opportunistic in the right environment, such as a clogged pore, and increase while using the cellular debris from its environment to grow.
That said, these bacteria cannot be eliminated from the skin, which is why acne is often considered a chronic condition that can always come back and can only be maintained but not cured.
For some people, acne can go away without treatment. This is usually the case when a mild hormonal imbalance is causing the condition, and hormones can sometimes balance themselves out without necessarily needing treatment.
However, while this can be the case for some people, it’s never a good idea to wait for the problem to go away, as mild cases of acne have a high chance of worsening if left untreated.
Acne can sometimes flare up during certain times of the month, especially for women who experience hormonal imbalances during their period or ovulatory phase.
It’s important to consider that hormonal fluctuations are normal during certain times of the month and that there are ways to reduce their impact on skin health, such as following a healthy diet and incorporating a skincare routine that addresses the external part of the issue.