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I'm Experiencing Male Acne in My 20s, Why?

Man with facial acne standing against a wall

If you’re old enough to rent a car, buy beer or go to war, you shouldn’t still have acne, right? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Acne comes for people of all ages and, unfortunately, it seems to enjoy taunting those of us in post-adolescence the most. While twenty something acne can be caused by all sorts of things, there are some ways to pinpoint what might be causing your skin to revert back to its blemish-heavy days. Your 20s are the ideal time to start thinking a bit about skin care (don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems) and finding the bestmen’s skin care products for your specific skin issues.

Here are three of the things you should know:

  1. Twentysomething acne is not uncommon. Unlike adolescent acne, adult acne is more concentrated along the chin and jawline rather than the nose and forehead.
  2. Adult acne is caused by all sorts of factors, including the environment, hormonal changes, reactions to new skin care products and even genetics.
  3. Using a daily face wash, coupled with an acne spot treatment, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep oily skin under control and prevent the formation of acne. 

Hormones, Testosterone and Acne

When it comes to young adult men and acne, hormones play a surprisingly bigger role than you might think. During the early teenage years and the onset of puberty, testosterone levels surge. Testosterone increases can cause oily skin and breakouts, regardless of age. If you’ve had steady acne from the time you hit puberty, or if you have reason to believe your body is producing more of the hormone (like if you’re taking testosterone supplements), this hormone might be to blame.

Studies show that higher levels of testosterone cause more activity in the sebaceous glands, and that it can increase the size of these glands by as much as 89 percent. While a moderate amount of oil on the surface of the skin is normal, it’s excess oil that blocks pores and causes acne breakouts. Certain prescription acne medications can effectively lower testosterone production and prevent excess sebum. But lowering testosterone levels is not always an ideal method of treatment, as it causes plenty of unpleasant side effects. 

Besides testosterone, there are other potential acne triggers that affect twenty-something guys. If you’ve recently started a new skin care routine or tried a new product, you might be experiencing what’s known as “skin purging,” a condition that causes skin to temporarily worsen before improving when trying a new product. Not frequently or properly cleansing the skin is another major contributor, and genetics may also play a role. Stress and diet can also lead skin to breakouts.


Infographic explaining the effects of testosterone on different parts of the body

The Solution

The main contributing factor to hormonal acne is considered to be oily skin, so dealing with the excess sebum should be one of your priorities. One of the best ways to do that is with a face wash designed to remove dirt, grime and oil, like our pro-level men's face wash, which is designed to get rid of the excess oil that comes with the twenty-something territory. Choosing the right skin care products comes down to ingredients. Once you know a little bit about what does what, you’ll be able to identify quality men’s skin care products that banish acne.

Infographic explaining the effects of testosterone on different parts of the body

Take the skin care quiz

Here’s what to look for:

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient found in a lot of over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments. What makes Tiege Hanley products a step above your average OTC treatment is Willow Bark Extract, a natural extract we use that contains this potent acid. This extract is a natural source of anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties, helping to soothe irritated skin and quell acne. Salicylic acid is great at exfoliating the skin, sloughing away those dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to acne.

The Game Plan

Knowing what products to use is only part of the process—you’ve also got to know how and when to use them. Luckily, we’re in the business of demystifying all of this for you so that you can get back to clear skin with minimal effort. Take the guesswork out of your skin care routine with our uncomplicated skin care system that comes direct to your door with easy instructions every month.

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