Teenagers are no longer the only age group affected by the cutaneous condition known as acne. Increasing numbers of women are now facing a type of late-onset acne that not only alters the quality of their skin, but also affects their quality of life.
How has the typical profile of your acne patients changed in the past few years?
Acne is no longer only a problem for teenagers.
We're seeing daily evidence that acne no longer exclusively affects teenagers. More and more women are seeking help for
- persistent acne they've had since adolescence
- a new acne breakout after a long period without lesions
- a breakout of acne in women who never had it as teenagers (more than 1 in 4 women experience this)
What are the characteristics of acne in adult women?
Teenagers suffer from inflammatory acne, whereas adult women tend to be affected by retentional acne.
While inflammatory acne is virulent, the kind of acne that adult women get-known as retentional acne-is characterised by fewer lesions. They flare up in bursts, particularly before menstruation or, for instance, in times of stress, producing open comedones-commonly called "blackheads"-that can turn into spots. Even if they're concentrated in one area, the resulting irregularities on the skin surface, shine, dilated pores or spots will not only alter the visual appearance of the skin and the feel of it, but also make the woman feel uncomfortable at an age when acne is no longer considered acceptable.
What factors might worsen the condition?
La Roche-Posay's Laboratories have identified one factor that exacerbates acne, and that's oxidation.
When subjected to external stress such as UV light, dust or pollution, oily imperfection-prone skin undergoes oxidation, triggering a chain reaction: hyperkeratinisation, sebum hyperproduction, and the oxidation of sebum and impurities present on the surface of the skin. This process can lead to the appearance of new blemishes.
*Christin N.Collier et al. The prevalence of acne in adults aged 20 and over. J Am Acad Dermatol, Volume 58, Issue 1 - 2008