Why are women especially prone to adult acne?

Woman sleeping

Although acne vulgaris is mainly linked with adolescents, adults can also suffer from spots and breakouts. Post-adolescent acne mainly affects women and shows in two forms: persistent and late onset acne. Both forms include clinical features similar to teen acne. This means that most prescribed therapies for post-adolescent acne are very similar to those used to treat teenage acne. An effective treatment for mature skin should however also be moisturising.

Mature skin

Acne is a consistent problem for many adults, but especially women. The adult form of this problem can require treatment well into the mid forties.

Cell division in mature skin occurs slower than in young skin. The number of sebaceous glands, which are responsible for the fatty protective barrier, go down. Less sebum is produced which makes the skin drier. In order to keep our natural protective barrier intact and active, mature skin needs moisturising skin care.

No differences have been established in the bacterial flora of teenagers and adults with acne. As a result, the clinical features of acne (spots) are similar. The inflammatory lesions most commonly present around the mouth or on the chin and often occur premenstrually.

Post-adolescent acne

Two forms of post-adolescent acne have been defined: persistent and late onset acne.

Acne during puberty that continues into adulthood is triggered by hormonal changes. A high rate of cell proliferation, increased sebum production and the presence of Propionibacterium acnes are different factors that contribute to the development of (teen or persistent) acne.

Adults can also suffer from acne for the first time later in life, after the age of 25. It is more difficult to explain late onset acne. This form of post-adolescent acne is not related to the hormonal changes that accompany puberty. Although the causes remain to be determined, possible triggers include an increased level of androgens, stress, resistant bacteria on the skin, the use of cosmetics and family history.

Possible causes for post-adolescent acne

One of the most fascinating causes for post-adolescent acne found in women is the relationship between increasing stress levels and increased androgen hormones such as testosterone.

The use of oral contraceptives, especially those with an androgenic component, may play a role as well. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands to enlarge and to produce more sebum, one of the factors that induce teen acne.

Although cosmetics are not the cause of post-adolescent acne they can aggravate low-grade acne. Facial beauty treatments can also contain cosmetic ingredients that elicit acne.

In some individuals there might be a familial tendency to acne.


Most prescribed antibiotic therapies for post-adolescent acne are very similar to those used for adolescent acne. However, failure to respond to treatment with the corresponding antibiotic is a global problem. In order to prevent the increase of antibiotic resistance, the use of antibiotics as a first choice should be re-evaluated.

In addition, several anti-acne creams, soaps and scrubs have a dehydrating effect on the skin. Especially for mature skin this is detrimental to effective treatment.

YUN’s unique cream for spots on mature skin

YUN has developed a biome friendly cream and wash for mature skin that suffers from acne.

The cosmetic cream contains three living Lactobacillus strains that have been specifically selected in order to compete in a natural way with Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus and Malassezia, three microorganisms that play a role in the development of acne.

The cream combats the bacterial infection without causing harm to the skin or causing resistance to treatment. It also contains extra moisturising ingredients for optimal care of mature skin. The cream is gentle on the skin and its microbiome (bacterial flora).

How to get involved?

Keep an eye out for our crowdfunding page, which will offer you all the information you need. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to tell your friends and family about our upcoming crowdfunding campaign!

YUN Probiotherapy Get Involved

Interesting references

  • Akaza, N. et al., 2015. Microorganisms inhabiting follicular contents of facial acne are not only Propionibacterium but also Malassezia spp. The Journal of dermatology.
  • Giacomoni, P.U., Mammone, T. & Teri, M., 2009. Gender-linked differences in human skin. Journal of dermatological science, 55(3), pp.144–9.
  • Knaggs, H.E. et al., 2004. Post-adolescent acne. International journal of cosmetic science, 26(3), pp.129–38.
  • Ross, J.I. et al., 2003. Antibiotic-resistant acne: lessons from Europe. The British journal of dermatology, 148(3), pp.467–78.

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