What Is The Difference Between Teenage and Adult Acne?

As a Skin Therapist, I often get asked by parents why their children can not use the same skincare products as them.

Firstly and foremost, teenage acne and adult acne are completely different.

They look different, they have different causes and are situated in different areas of the skin.

To treat teenage acne with the same products you treat adult acne, would be like giving your child the same medication you were prescribed to treat your health issues.


What is teenage acne?


Teenage acne is caused by hormonal changes during puberty - the spike of the sex-growth hormone.

It comes to genetic too, so some teenagers might experience it, while others don't.

Puberty causes teenagers sebaceous glands to secrete more oil than adults.

This over-secreting of oil forms on teenage skins as oily breakouts and blackheads.

Commonly seen in the centre of the face, consisting of the forehead, cheeks, and chin.

Commonly starts between the ages of 10-13 and normally resolves in their early 20s.

It's also not uncommon for teenage boys have more severe cases.

What is adult acne?


Adult acne is also known as hormonal acne.

Imbalances of our hormones - which can either be estrogen or testosterone dominant - plus our stress hormone.

Factors like lifestyle, pollution, imbalance of hormones, and added stress also contribute to the formation of adult acne.

Adult acne normally affects adults who are 25+ in the lower part of the face:  mainly the cheeks, chin, and jawline.

Adult acne is generally less oily-related, presents more inflammation, looks red, tender, painful and cystic. It is more often seen in females.


Why do we treat both differently?

When treating skin issues on different ages, we need to look into the causes - physical factors, genetics, environment, lifestyle etc.

Teenage skins are more resilient to the environment and can heal quicker. Whereas adult skins are less tolerant, heal slower and suffer more inflammation. The inflammation leads to an overproduction of sebum, which can then cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

So for teenage skins, you are wanting to have products that mop and sweep up oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Salicylic acid is a famous acid for this. As teenage skins are still young, new, and fresh you do not want to choose a product that is too high in active ingredients that will compromise their young acid mantle.

For teenagers, the product I recommend is the Dermalogicas Flashfoliant.

Dermalogica has a product range entirely targeted at teenage skins, it's called clear start. 

For an adult, acne you are wanting to treat the inflammation but also soothe the redness and prevent hyperpigmentation from future markings of breakouts (scarring) Ingredients in your skincare that help with this is niacinamide and vitamin A.

I recommend Medik8 Clarity Peptides and Crystal Retinal or Dermalogica's Age Bright Clearing Serum.

Besides investing in professional skincare, looking into your overall health issues will also help to relieve the symptoms of any type of acne.

Factors such as your diet, lack of nutrients, imbalance of hormones and the wrongly prescribed skincare products could be the underlying reason behind the breakouts you are experiencing at the moment.

Seeking professional guidance through a Skin Therapist can also help target whichever stressors or triggers you've been unknowingly experiencing.

If you need any guidance to deal with your or your teenager's acne, let us know. We offer Complimentary Skin Consultations via phone, email, Zoom or in person!

About The Author

My name is Sari Pols,
I have been in the skincare industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have good well-being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.
I have furthered my knowledge of Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns, and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to bandaid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.

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