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How to Deal With Acne in 20s (Everything You Need to Know)

Facing acne in your 20s can be troublesome, but you are not alone. From hormonal changes to lifestyle factors, adult acne is a common concern affecting many in their 20s and 30s.

This comprehensive guide aims to help you navigate the maze of adult acne, offering tips and treatments that can make a difference.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Acne in your 20s is often due to hormonal changes, lifestyle choices, and stress.
  • Identifying the type of acne you're dealing with—such as blackheads, whiteheads, or cystic acne—is crucial for effective treatment.
  • A multi-faceted approach encompassing diet, stress management, and proper skincare is vital for managing acne.
  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive product range designed to treat various causes of acne effectively, suiting many skin types.

Close up of young woman with acne

The ABCs of Adult Acne: Why Acne in 20s Is More Common Than You Think

Understanding Adult Acne vs. Adolescent Acne

Adult acne differs significantly from adolescent acne, although the underlying factors may often overlap. In adolescents, acne usually originates from fluctuating hormones due to puberty.

But when you experience acne in your 20s or even 30s, the causes can range from hormonal fluctuations linked to menstrual cycles to lifestyle factors like diet and stress.

Different Types of Acne

Acne is not a one-size-fits-all skin concern. Knowing the type of acne affecting you can help you take targeted action.

  • Blackheads and Whiteheads: These are often caused by clogged pores, which are the mildest form of acne.
  • Pimples: These are also known as papules and pustules, and they occur when bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells cause inflammation.
  • Severe Acne: This includes cysts and nodules, which are deeper skin lesions and often lead to scars.

Common Causes of Acne in 20s

Understanding what causes adult acne is the first step toward an effective treatment plan. There can be several causes, including:

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations can lead to breakouts, especially around menstrual cycles.
  • Diet: Foods high in sugar and fatty acids can aggravate acne.
  • Stress: Increased stress levels can put your glands into overdrive, producing excess oil.
  • Cosmetic Products: Oil-based or poor-quality skin care products can clog your pores, worsening acne.

Asian woman putting on makeup

The Role of Hormones in Adult Acne

How Hormones Influence Acne in Women in Their 20s

Hormonal acne is usually the term associated with breakouts that occur around menstrual cycles. It can also be influenced by birth control pills and even hormonal changes in your 20s. This acne typically manifests around the jawline, cheeks, and chin.

Hormonal Changes in Men

While women are generally more prone to hormonal acne due to menstrual cycles and birth control pills, men are not exempt. For men, hormonal acne often peaks in their late teens but can persist into their 20s and 30s. Testosterone, a hormone in both genders but more prevalent in men, can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to acne.

Addressing the Concern: Effective Treatments for Adult Acne

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments like creams, gels, and ointments often contain ingredients like salicylic acid and retinoids, which are effective for treating adult acne. Always look for non-comedogenic and oil-free products to avoid clogging pores further.

Acne Cleansers

Using a specific acne-fighting cleanser can help manage excess oil and remove the dead skin cells that clog your pores. It is advisable to wash your face twice a day for better results.

Young adult putting on facial cleanser

Treatment Plans and Options

There are several treatment options to tackle adult acne. Consider these approaches:

  • Birth Control: For women, certain birth control pills can help regulate hormone levels, reducing acne.
  • Chemical Peels: These involve the application of a chemical solution that helps remove damaged skin.
  • Natural Remedies: Ingredients like tea tree oil can help treat acne, but they may not be effective for severe cases.

Lifestyle Changes: More Than Just Skin Deep

Diet and Nutrition

What you put on your plate is as crucial as what you put on your face. Foods high in glycemic index and dairy products have been shown to exacerbate acne. Focus on a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Stress Management

Excess stress can lead to hormonal fluctuations that aggravate acne. Simple meditation, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can help manage stress levels.

Woman meditating on couch

Hair and Skin Care

Hair products can cause acne along the hairline and forehead. Using non-comedogenic and oil-free hair and skin care products can help prevent this. Also, for women experiencing hair loss, using products that do not irritate the scalp and contribute to breakouts is essential.

Myths and Misconceptions: What Does NOT Cause Acne in 20s

Touching Your Face

While it is a good practice to avoid touching your face to prevent the spread of bacteria, doing so will not necessarily cause new acne.

Scrubbing Your Face Will Make Acne Disappear

Over-exfoliating or scrubbing your skin can irritate the skin and worsen acne. Gentle cleansing is often more effective.

Acne is Caused Only by Hormonal Changes

While hormonal changes are a significant factor, other elements like diet, stress, and the products you use also contribute to acne in 20s.

Why Exposed Skin Care Is Your Best Ally

When battling acne in your 20s, the right acne treatment is crucial to your skincare routine. Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive suite of products that target various acne causes, making it an excellent choice for managing this common skin condition.
Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Here are some benefits of Exposed Skin Care:

  • Effective Acne Treatment: Its Treatment Serum treats existing acne breakouts and prevents new ones. Acne that exists today may not be an issue tomorrow.
  • Adapts to Changes in Hormones: The Probiotic Complex harmonizes gut flora, thus balancing sebum production, a common issue caused by hormonal changes, especially in women undergoing irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Tailored for All: Whether you still have acne from your teenage years or get acne due to adult-life stress, Exposed Skin Care's versatile range has you covered. It's effective for people of all ages, including women in their 40s who face adult acne.
  • Deep Cleansing: The Facial Cleanser removes dead skin cells and clears hair follicles, reducing the factors causing acne.
  • Suits Acne-Prone Skin: These products are specially formulated for acne-prone skin, minimizing irritation while maximizing results.

By washing your face daily with Exposed Skin Care products, you help treat not just the acne that flares up but also address the underlying causes and treatments. Make your skin the best it can be, irrespective of your history of acne.


Navigating the turbulent waters of acne in your 20s can be overwhelming, but with a well-rounded approach, you can achieve clearer skin. It is crucial to understand that acne may occur due to hormonal changes, lifestyle, or even the type of hair and skin care products you use.

Female acne can be influenced by hormone cycles, indicating that a targeted treatment for hormonal fluctuations can be quite effective. Whether you are dealing with blackheads or cystic acne, identifying the type of acne is typically the first step in establishing an effective treatment plan.

This goes beyond merely choosing products that promise clear skin; it involves a deep understanding of your skin condition. Exposed Skin Care, for instance, offers a range of products that work harmoniously to address multiple issues related to acne.

Their offerings suit many skin types and provide a comprehensive routine to tackle the complexity of acne. Products like their Treatment Serum and Facial Cleanser provide a holistic approach to treating and preventing acne.

Moreover, acne can result from factors we often overlook, such as diet and stress. Hence, adopting a multi-faceted approach that encompasses diet, stress management, and appropriate skincare could be a game-changer in your fight against this common skin issue.


Why is acne common in your 20s?

Acne in your 20s is often due to hormonal fluctuations, lifestyle changes, and stress.

Can hormonal changes specifically affect women in their 20s?

Hormonal changes around menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or birth control can significantly influence female acne.

What types of acne can occur in your 20s?

You can experience various types of acne, including blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne. Acne is typically classified based on its severity and the kind of inflammation involved.

Is Exposed Skin Care effective for treating acne in your 20s?

Yes, Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive range of products that target multiple acne causes, suitable for many skin types.

Do I need to follow a specific diet to manage acne?

While no specific diet will cure acne, a balanced diet rich in nutrients and low in processed foods can help manage symptoms.