Acne was once thought of as a teen-only skin condition. However, acne is common in adults too– particularly women between the ages of 20 and 40. Adult acne is often called hormonal acne as it tends to flare up with hormonal changes such as around menstrual periods or pregnancy.
# Up to 22%, or 1 in 5 women, suffer from acne in adulthood compared to 3% of men.
Persistent acne starts in the teens and continues into adulthood. Most adults have this type.
Late onset acne happens when a person gets acne for the first time as an adult. This form is less common.
Red bumps and pus filled pimples, acne scars and dark marks may exist at the site of previous acne.
Appears most often along the jawline, on the chin and neck. May appear on the forehead, cheeks, back and chest. (Image courtesy Dr. Ben Barankin)
Hormones appear to play a leading role in adult acne in women and explain why this condition flares up when hormone levels fluctuate.
Acne outbreaks tend to happen around menstrual periods or during pregnancy. Hormones stimulate the oil glands in the skin.
May be seen in women after stopping birth control pills.
Genes – about 50% of adult acne sufferers have a close family relative with adult acne.
Medications such as steroids and those containing lithium can cause acne in adults.
Because adult acne appears most often on the face, lasts for years and may leave permanent scarring and dark marks, there are often significant emotional effects for sufferers.
In one study of adult women with more serious acne:
Myths that some women with acne believe:
You just have to wait until acne goes away: 38%
Eating chocolate gives you acne: 36%
You should wash your face 4 times a day: 27%
You can treat acne by popping pimples: 22%
Adults do not get acne: 11%
Determine if you need medical help and follow medical treatment regimens completely. Learn about Treatment options for mild, moderate or severe acne.
Test your acne knowledge. You may be surprised at some of the answers…