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Adult Acne: The Physical and Psychological Costs


Acne, normally associated with the hormonal upheaval of the teenage years, is now becoming more prevalent in the adult population. Chalk it up to hormones, stress, diet or a combination of all three – the problem is there and made worse by the fact that adults are also undergoing major skin changes as they age.

Beyond the physical aspects of acne; the blemishes, oily skin and scarring there exists an even more damaging , hidden element – the psychological toll it takes on the adult suffering from acne. Teens are expected to get the occasional zit or even have mild to moderate cases of acne. Pimples, blackheads, large pores and shiny skin are the mainstay of the teen years, but to be an adult, out of college, in the workforce and to be dealing with acne – is unacceptable both socially (even if unspoken) and on a personal level (where we are harder on our appearance than others may be).

An adult’s self-confidence can be whittled away little by little as they struggle with adult acne. In the business world appearances are valued. It’s a proven fact that attractive individuals are promoted above their less attractive peers. It is also known that when we feel attractive we are more confident; confidence in the workplace translates to success. Facing an upcoming client presentation with one or more blemishes makes us feel less attractive and others may view the blemished skin as a sign of “youth” and get the impression that you’re inexperienced-which can lead to further deterioration of confidence, self-esteem and an increase in stress levels ( ironically leading to the formation of more acne) .

Recently we published an article on acne’s effect on self-esteem. From that article we reprint one of the most accurate quotes – a quote that many suffering from acne can relate to:

According to board certified psychiatrist and dermatologist John Koo, MD, acne affects more that just skin it affects self-confidence, self-esteem and body-image. Those suffering from chronic acne may withdraw socially, embarrass easily, manifest their anger outward/inward, suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and frustration.

The feelings of low self-esteem and eroded confidence will remain long after the pimple(s) have gone. Even after the acne scars have been surgically revised or lasered away to reveal a beautiful smoother complexion, the nagging feeling of being less than perfect may remain.

A study in the International Journal of Dermatology (February 2006) reported that severe facial blemishes do impact a woman’s quality of life. But that doesn’t have to be the case, suffering quietly with adult acne is not necessary. Both the short-term and long-term physical and psychological effects of acne can be curtailed by addressing the problem early. First, speak with your general care physician to rule out the adult-onset acne as a symptom of a bigger health care concern such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Insulin Resistance (Metabolic Syndrome X) or other endocrinological disorders. If you are suffering from hormonal or endocrinological health issues there are various prescriptions medication that can help: spironolactone, metformin (for insulin resistance and pre-diabetes issues), and birth control pills (Yaz in particular)

Then (and possibly on the recommendation of your physician) make an appointment with a dermatologist – he/she can prescribe any number of topical treatments that can help bring a healthy unblemished appearance back to your skin. There are also many non-prescription skin care treatment options you can apply at home but first check with a medical professional – specially in cases where the acne is recurring and moderate to severe. Once you have the acne under control you can maintain your skin with an at-home skin care regimen.

Related: Hormones and Acne, ms.distressedDERMA’s Skin Care Routine

Additional Reading: The Savvy Woman’s Guide To PCOS and The Insulin-Resistance Diet

Submitted by Ms. distressedDERMA on Saturday, 5 April 2008




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4 Responses to “Adult Acne: The Physical and Psychological Costs”


  1. 1

    Adult Acne: The Physical and Psychological Costs « Self esteem Says:

    […] Adult Acne: The Physical and Psychological Costs The feelings of low self-esteem and eroded confidence will remain long after the pimple(s) have gone. Even after the acne scars have been surgically revised or lasered away to reveal a beautiful smoother complexion, the nagging feeling …http://distressedderma.com/adult-acne-the-…
    […]

  2. 2

    Adult Acne: The Physical and Psychological Costs Says:

    […] Medinfo wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAcne, normally associated with the hormonal upheaval of the teenage years, is now becoming more prevalent in the adult population. Chalk it up to hormones, stress, diet or a combination of all three – the problem is there and made worse … […]

  3. 3

    melly Says:

    Great post. It’s interesting to know that building self-confidence can be as easy as ABC. Interestingly enough, http://www.confidencebuildingcourses.com offer good tips too. Might be interesting to check it out.

  4. 4

    Acne Says:

    I have suffered from acne during many years but now it is gone.There’s only minimal scarring left(hard to see) but I want to improve my skin even more and WILL get rid of it and have a smooth skin..







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