Why Am I Suddenly Getting Acne in My 30s?

Acne is the most common skin issue in the United States. Although it’s typically associated with teens, it can strike at any time — and it’s becoming increasingly common among adults.

In fact, adults in their 30s can experience acne breakouts, even if they didn’t deal with it in their teen years. It can be a frustrating and bewildering experience, and we’re here to help you find answers.

Vicki Rapaport, MD, and our team at Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills specialize in acne treatment for all ages. In this blog, we’ll explore the possible causes of adult acne and some effective treatment options.

Common causes of adult acne

Several factors can trigger acne breakouts in your 30s and beyond. 

Hormonal changes can cause adult acne, particularly in women. Hormonal imbalance increases oil production in your skin, which can clog your pores and lead to acne. You might be more likely to get adult acne if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or use hormonal birth control.

Stress can also contribute to hormonal imbalance and adult acne. High-stress levels increase cortisol in your body, leading to inflammation and breakouts.

Certain lifestyle factors can increase your risk of adult acne breakouts, including certain skin care products and your diet. Some skin care products and cosmetics can contain ingredients that clog your pores. Consuming a diet high in sugar, dairy, or processed foods can also lead to inflammation and acne.

Treatment options for adult acne

Mild acne breakouts usually resolve on their own. But if you’re frustrated with significant acne or frequent breakouts in your 30s, it might be time to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Dr. Rapaport and our team start by examining your skin and reviewing your health history. Then, we discuss your acne treatment options, including:

Over-the-counter acne treatment

We can help you develop a personalized skincare routine with gentle and non-comedogenic products to reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts. Although it seems counterintuitive, avoid harsh scrubs or exfoliants because they can irritate your skin and exacerbate acne.

In addition to an optimal skincare routine, we may recommend trying targeted acne treatment. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are both effective ingredients to fight adult acne, and they’re available in cleansers, spot treatments, and moisturizers.


If you have severe acne, we might prescribe acne medication, like topical retinoids or oral antibiotics. If your acne is hormone-related, treating the underlying condition can also reduce your acne. For example, oral contraceptives or spironolactone can help regulate hormonal imbalance in women with PCOS or other gynecologic conditions.

Clinical treatments

Dr. Rapaport also offers a variety of clinical treatments to target acne and refresh your complexion. Depending on your needs, we may recommend trying facials, chemical peels, or noninvasive laser therapy.

Laser therapy uses light energy to treat the oil glands in your skin, and it's effective for existing acne and reducing future breakouts. Since it’s noninvasive, it’s gentle on the skin.

Dietary changes

Making changes to your diet can improve acne. Consider avoiding dairy and limiting sugar and processed foods. Focus on eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein to boost skin health naturally.

It’s no secret that adult acne can be frustrating. But the good news is that treatment is available, and it can make a significant difference. Get your personalized acne treatment plan from Dr. Rapaport and start enjoying better confidence and clearer skin. Call our offices in Beverly Hills and Culver City, California, to make an appointment.

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