Teenagers are the age group most commonly thought to struggle the most with acne however, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) acne affects women far beyond their teen years and unfortunately, the skin condition is getting more common in adult women over the age of 20.
Adult acne affects more than half of women between the ages of 20 and 29 and more than 25 percent of women in their 40s, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 70th Annual Meeting, which also found that more women are affected by acne than men of a similar age.
And it’s more than just the occasional spot, 45 percent of women aged 21-30 had clinical acne, 26 percent of women aged 31-40 had clinical acne, and 12 percent of women aged 41-50 had clinical acne.
HOW HORMONES INFLUENCE ACNE:
Primary causes of adult acne
- Excess sebum, or oil gland, production (influenced by hormones).
- Skin cells that shed become abnormally sticky and accumulate, or clog up, in the hair follicle (influenced by hormones).
- Increased number of the acne-causing bacterium Propionbacterium acnes, or P. acnes.
- Skin inflammation.
The role of androgens
- Androgens, the male hormones present in both men and women, can contribute to adult acne flares by overstimulating the oil glands and altering the development of skin cells that line hair follicles in the skin.
- The majority of women with adult acne have normal androgen levels, but hormonal testing is recommended for females who have acne accompanied by excess facial or body hair, deepening voice, or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods.
Although there is no one single cure that works in all patients with acne, dermatologists can recommend patient-specific treatment regimens to control acne and minimize future breakouts. In women, hormonal therapies are commonly used to treat adult acne safely and effectively.
“With acne, it’s important for patients to understand that there are no quick fixes, and none of the therapies used to treat acne work overnight,” said Dr. Schlosser.
For more information on adult acne, visit the AAD’s website