Why adults get acne and how it can be treated

NEW YORK (CNN) – Many people get acne as teenagers, but did you know that adults can develop it as well?

Narva Norfleet didn’t have acne as a teenager, but in her mid 30’s she started to break out.

“I woke up and had this big bolder, like huge bumps I would go to the grocery store and do this. I would never look direct in your face because it was embarrassing,” said Norfleet.

About 10-15% of adults develop acne at age 30 or older.

“Acne does not discriminate.  We see it in men and women, we see if in dark and light,” said dermatologist Dr. Rutledge Forney

Often the cause is something we’ve inherited.

“More often than not it’s just genetics.  And I often say talk to your mom, talk to your dad.  See if someone in the family didn’t start breaking out when you were a little bit older,” said Dr. Forney.

For women, another factor might be a change in hormones around menopause.  Moving to another geographic location can affect some men and women, but doctors aren’t sure why.

“Most people with adult acne, we can get clear with topical medications,” said Dr. Forney.

These help with inflammation and help kill bacteria. Some like norfleet need to also take oral medications.  One that worked for her but shouldn’t be used if you want to start a family.

“It used to be called accutane and it is a vitamin a derivative that often will give people the closest thing we have to a cure,” said Dr. Forney.

Norfleet’s acne is virtually gone and she says she feels great again.

“It gave me so much confidence,” said Norfleet.

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