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Is Adult Acne More Common in Men or Women?

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Updated March 24, 2010

Question: Is Adult Acne More Common in Men or Women?
Answer:

Sorry, ladies. It seems acne is more common in women, at least during adulthood.

During the teen years acne strikes both males and females equally. But after age 20, women report they are far more likely than men to suffer from this common skin problem, according to a survey completed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

More than 1,000 men and women were asked to complete a survey to determine the prevalence of acne in adults. Of these participants, 73% reported having suffered from acne at some point in their lives. According to the survey results, acne affected both male and female participants equally during the teen years (68.5% of males and 66.8% of females reported having acne as teens).

From age 20 on, however, women perceived themselves as much more affected by acne. Across all age groups, women consistently reported experiencing adult acne at a higher rate than did men.

The results of the survey found acne affected:

  • 50.9% of women versus 42.5% of men, between the ages of 20 and 29
  • 35.2% women versus 20.1% men, between the ages of 30-39
  • 26.3% women versus 12% men, between the ages of 40-49
  • 15.3% women versus 7.3% men, ages 50 and older

Most of the women classified their acne as being mild to moderate.

The survey also asked women to evaluate their acne pre- and post-menopausal, as well as around the time of their menstrual cycle. At least 62% of women reported having a worsening of acne around the time of their monthly period.

Acne is often believed to be a teenage problem, but in reality there are many adults who continue to struggle with breakouts. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to help improve your acne. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for advice and treatment. Because you can control your acne, no matter what age it strikes.

Source:

Collier CN, Harper JC, Cantrell WC, Wang W, Foster KW, Elewski BE. "The prevalence of acne in adults 20 years and older." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.06.045. Published online October 18, 2007.

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