More middle-aged women being treated for acne

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

You probably thought you broke up with it after high school, but acne is rearing its ugly blackheads in adult women.

Much to the dismay of women everywhere, studies are showing an increase in acne among middle-aged females. The American Academy of Dermatology reports about 15% of all women are battling the bumps. Up to 40% in perimenopausal women.

Despite it being very common, acne is still thought of as a teenage affliction. But Fort Myers dermatologist Ashley Pezzi sees otherwise.

“I see women of all ages, with acne, not just in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and they said, ‘I didn’t have acne when I was younger,'” Dr. Pezzi said. It is a common complaint at her Precision Healthcare Specialist practice. “Either it’s coming back, or it’s new. So definitely.”

A lot of factors are in play, including diet and heredity. You can mostly thank your hormones.

“A lot of it has to do with androgens, and hormones. And, of course, that really starts around puberty but doesn’t necessarily end after the fact,” said Dr. Pezzi.

It turns out this isn’t your teenager’s breakout, either. Teenagers, starting at puberty, produce higher levels of oil. Decreasing estrogen can also lead to more oil production. But there are subtle differences between the two.

“In general, we think about teenagers with that T zone. That’s not always necessarily what it looks like,” Dr. Pezzi explained. “But for women, I do find that they tend to have more acne and the jawline and under the chin. And there does tend to be a more hormonal component.”

Clearing the problem has come a long way. Topical meds, along with antibiotics and light therapies, are used to manage acne. Far different from the ‘old-school’ approach of stripping the skin.

“When you’re washing your face, you don’t need to just scrub, scrub, scrub, apply alcohol to dry things out. You’re going to cause more irritation and trigger more inflammation, which in turn can worsen the acne.”

Today, more women are seeking acne treatment, hoping to finally put their blemishes behind them.

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