Adult Female Acne – what you need to know about lifestyle factors

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has shed some light on risk factors for developing female acne in adulthood, and how these differ from the risk factors for adolescents. The researchers looked at environmental and personal factors in 270 women with adult acne (mean age 32.2yrs) and compared them to similar women without acne. These are the things they discovered are associated with acne in adult women, listed in order of highest to lowest risk:

  • A personal history of acne in adolescence
  • A family history of acne in parents
  • Hirsuitism (abnormal patterns of excessive hair growth)
  • Having a high degree of psychological stress
  • A low fresh fish consumption
  • A family history of acne in siblings
  • A low weekly fruit/vegetable intake
  • Working in an office rather than being unemployed or a stay-at-home mum
  • No previous pregnancies

Interestingly, unlike in adolescent acne, there was no association with a high intake of milk or with body mass index (BMI). They also found that acne in adult women was more likely to involve inflammatory lesions such as cysts and pustules, as opposed to comedomes (whiteheads), with 75% of the adult women in the study having inflammatory acne, with 30% of them having acne involving the trunk (chest or back).

Clearly, some of these risk factors are not adjustable, but correction of the lifestyle factors identified – particularly increasing the amount of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables consumed, may well be worth trying.

Reference: J Am Acad Dermatol 2016;75(6):1134–41

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