According to the American Academy of Dermatology Acne, acne is believed to affect 80 percent, or approximately 40-50 million Americans, making it the most common skin disorder in the U.S. While acne primarily affects preteens and teens, it affects all age groups from newborns to seniors.
Acne can occur almost anywhere on the body, but most acne sufferers experience breakouts on the face, neck, chest and shoulders. The location, type and cause of breakouts varies according to who is breaking out and why.
Newborns are believed to get acne due to a transfer of hormones from their mother; 20 percent of newborns have acne that can persist up until four months of age. This usually manifests on the cheeks, chin, forehead and eyelids and may also occur on the neck, upper chest and scalp. This acne is due to excess oil production and high testosterone levels. While unlikely to scar, this early onset strongly predicts acne down the road.
While most sources indicate that children up to eight years of age rarely experience acne, other sources indicate that boys four to eight can experience acne. This acne is usually in the form of whiteheads on the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose, or papules or pustules on the back. Topical retinoids can prevent the comedones from becoming inflammatory acne. A pediatric dermatologist can make sure it is not eczema or erythema toxicum, which can be exacerbated by topical retinoids.
“Despite the old school philosophy that acne is a teenage problem to be outgrown, acne must be addressed immediately,”
Puberty or adolescence, from age eight to preteen, is the most common age group that is affected by acne. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) indicates that over 40 percent of adolescents get acne and/or acne scarring, requiring treatment.
Approximately 87 percent of teens aged 15 to 18 years, experience acne. Teen acne is usually seen on the upper part of the face in the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin), plus cheeks. They are mostly on the surface in the form of blackheads and whiteheads, except in advanced stages. The surge in hormones that occurs with growing up, is the main cause of teen acne.
Despite the old school philosophy that acne is a teenage problem to be outgrown, acne must be addressed immediately to prevent scarring and negative psychological effects. Acne can be remedied, but it can reoccur if not regularly treated and treated properly.
Someone who survived their teen years without developing acne, may still experience acne as an adult. Adult acne affects both men and women, and studies indicate the prevalence of adult acne is growing.
Women are predominantly affected with approximately 54 percent, or half of women aged 25 to 58 years experiencing adult acne. In women, adult acne manifests mainly on the chin and jawline and around the mouth (also known as the telltale hormone zone). It can also develop itself as deep under-the-skin pimples or cysts. Interestingly, 75 percent of women with adult acne may also develop it on their chest, back and shoulders.
About 25 percent of men are affected by acne that manifests mostly on the back, chest and upper shoulders. Male acne is mostly due to genetics and testosterone, which leads men to develop larger pores, more oil glands and thicker skin than women. Consequently, acne in males can respond quite well to conventional treatment since it is not primarily hormonally driven. Unfortunately, lack of compliance in males causes more inflammation, scarring and dark spots; however, it is not yet known why acne “ages out” for most male adults.
Regardless of the age, acne treatments are similar, with a few exceptions. For example, tetracyclines are not recommended for young acne sufferers due to the staining effect it has on the teeth. Adult acne needs to be treated a little more delicately as the skin tends to become thinner, drier, sensitive or easily irritated. Keeping the skin hydrated with serums, concentrates and noncomedogenic creams is key to boost hydration, and maintain the barrier of the skin.