3 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne

About 20% of women suffer from adult acne. It’s like you turned into a teenager again (there are some good things about being teenager, but acne is not one of them.) While you may think acne’s a thing of the past, some people have it worse than they were in their teens. In this article, you’ll learn about three surprising reasons for adult acne, and they’re easily fixable.

Breakouts may happen on the face, usually all over it, or along your hairline, around the nose, on your chin, sometimes between the eyes… The most common reasons for adult acne include fluctuation in hormones, stress, pollution.

But, there also are some trivial causes that are easy to eliminate.

Okay, first surprising reason for adult acne is

  1. Your Pillowcase

Dirty pillow as cause of adult acne

Think about your beautiful pillowcase… looks so clean doesn’t it? You hold your head there for 7-8 hours a night. How many hours is it per week? There’s dirt, there’s oil, there’s bacteria from your face, your hands, your hair and stuff in it from the environment. It all gets onto this beautiful pillowcase and then that dirt is transferred back into your face, clogging up your pores.

How often you wash your pillow case? General recommendations are, once a week for pillowcases.

But here’s the double surprise: the pillowcase is only part of the problem. Pull that pillowcase off and you’ll face the other big problem. It’s the actual pillow itself. The pillow, inside the case, is also a breeding ground for the bacteria. Pillowcase is pretty thin, so dirty stuff goes through there, you sweat on a pillowcase, you’re sweating on the pillow itself and all this junk breeds bacteria and other kinds of contaminants.

So you, actually, have to wash your pillows themselves, at least, every six months. More often if you apply lotions before going to bed. But, staggering amount of people have never, ever, washed their pillow (I’ve read somewhere that this percentage is 45%). Well, be prepared to hear this: after the pillow is two years old, one third of it is made of dust mite faeces and your dead skin. Cute, isn’t it?

So, wash the pillowcase once a week and pillows themselves every six months and it will help you a lot.

  1. Your hand cream on your face


Ok, before going to bed, do you put on hand cream? During the sleep, you probably put hand under your face? That feels cozy and comforting, but one of the problems is, when you put hand cream on your hands and then you rest them on your cheek, you’re actually putting something on your face when it’s supposed to be on your hands. It’s not called face cream, but hand cream, for a reason.

There are many ingredients, commonly found in hand care products, which are good for your hands but not good for your face, like:

  1. coconut oil,
  2. algae extract (great for hands, not for face)
  3. Sodium Chloride (that’s salt folks!)
  4. Lauryl Sulfate (steroids)
  5. Isocetyl Cearate

Your solution is to find a moisturizer that’s called non-comedogenic. ‘Comedogenic’ means causing pimples and anything that promotes acne has to be avoided (find out more in our best acne face washes guide)


  1. Medication ingredients that can cause adult acne: Iodine and Anabolic Steroids


Do you take multivitamins? Every day? Ok, take the multivitamin but, if you have iodine in it, that can actually create sudden eruption of acne as a side effect. You can get iodine from having table salt, you don’t have to get it from a multivitamin.  Just get a multivitamin without iodine being added to it. The other common medication, that causes acne, is anabolic steroids. Yes that we use for many reasons, bodybuilding for example. But, they cause, so-called steroid acne, and more than 50% of people who use large amounts of them, have it. If you overuse steroids, your chances to develop severe acne go up, drastically. Remember, balance is the keyword.

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