C'mon, science! Keke Palmer wants to know why adult acne hasn't yet been cured

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Actress Keke Palmer is frustrated at the lack of a cure for her adult acne. (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Actress Keke Palmer is frustrated at the lack of a cure for her adult acne. (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Surviving puberty, and the acne that often comes with it, is a rite of passage for most of us, but actress Keke Palmer can't fathom how medical science has still not come up with a cure for adult acne.

A barefaced Keke (28) – who stars in Jordan Peele's new sci-fi horror movie, Nope – vented her frustration on social media about recurring skin woes.

She began by praising plastic surgeons. "I was just thinking about the fact that plastic surgeons are amazing, OK? They can give you a boob job, above the muscle, under the muscle, liposuction, tummy tuck, BBL, they can even implant muscles. I mean, the list goes on," she said in her video.

"But they cannot figure out how to clear up somebody's skin?" she asks.  

READ MORE| My skin nearly cost me my career: Pussycat Dolls star opens up about the agony of acne

Then, she shared a quirky idea of her own which doesn't include conventional skin treatments or changing diet.

"Are you kidding me? All these years and all these inventions, you can't figure out how to take the beautiful skin from my a** and put it on my face?"

Adult acne is one of the most common inflammatory skin conditions which often occurs from the age of 25, right into the 50s, especially for women. The same things that cause teen acne – excessive skin oil and bacteria, often as a result of hormonal fluctuations – also cause adult acne. 

READ MORE| Medical experts share tips on how to deal with adult acne

Acne runs in families, so you're more likely to get it if your parents did too.

Keke has struggled with acne since her early teens. She told Christine Quinn in her Call Her Daddy podcast that she used Accutane in her teens, but her acne came back later. Accutane is prescribed when other treatments have failed to control severe cystic acne, also known as nodular acne.

"I was constantly hiding myself and felt shame about having acne," she said in an interview with InStyle.

Wearing makeup became a chore because I always had to be 'on' wherever I went in case a fan asked me to take a picture.
Keke Palmer

Her acne was so bad that when she was 14, Tyler Perry paid for her to see a specialist doctor. It helped, but not for long. When her acne returned, she decided to get to the bottom of what was causing it.

She did her own research, studied her family history and took the information to a medical professional. In December last year, she shared her findings on Instagram. 

adult acne, Keke Palmer, solution
Despite her acne, Keke Palmer is not afraid to show herself to the world. (PHOTO: Instagram@Keke)

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome has been attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea,” she wrote.  

The condition, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance that results in enlarged ovaries with tiny cysts.

Hereditary and environmental factors can contribute to it, and some symptoms include obesity, increased hair growth, acne, and irregular menstruation.

It is also the main cause of adult acne, according to America's National Centre for Biotechnology Information.  

“The least harmful thing PCOS can bring is acne . . . MY ACNE AINT NEVER STOPPED ME,” Keke posted on Instagram. 

READ MORE| Finding relief with eczema-prone skin: a South African study

Now that she knows what's caused her outbreaks, Keke wants a solution, as do many other people who suffer from adult acne.

American singer and dancer Melody Thornton wrote, “My mom told me it would go away as I got old?? yo . . . 37 . . . still breaking out like I’m 17.”

“Girl the struggle . . . I’m ti-yud”, added US singer and songwriter Diana Gordon.

“I’ll put my house on the market to pay, whatever it takes,” Keke jokingly concluded.


Blackheads are open skin lumps that collect extra oil and dead skin. The black patches, which mimic dirt deposits, are actually generated by light reflecting unevenly off the obstructed follicle.

Whiteheads are bumpy areas which are kept closed by skin debris and oil.

Papules are tiny red or pink pimples that swell up.

Pustules are pus-filled pimples. They have the appearance of red rings encircling whiteheads. If they are picked or scratched, they may leave scars.

Pityrosporum folliculitis, often known as fungal acne, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the hair follicles, which become swollen and itchy.

Nodules are firm zits buried deep beneath the skin. They're big and painful.

Cysts are pus-filled acne which might leave scars.


Mild adult acne: Small pustules, blackheads, or whiteheads may appear.

Moderate adult acne: Papules, which occupy between one-quarter and three-quarters of the face or torso, may be present.

Severe adult acne: Extreme redness or other colouring, swelling, inflammation, and deep cysts are common symptoms. 

Sources: Webmd.com People.com Insider.com Instyle.com teenvougue.com today.com Spotify.com clevelandclinic.org Prevention.com

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