Women and acne presents a very modern image focused problem.
Added to this are the more expensive female treatment options and the greater difficulty in meeting costs as our image focused world discriminates on the basis of looks and appearance.
During their teenage years, women tend to develop acne sooner than boys.
On average most girls will start to develop acne by about age 11, where boys won’t start until around age 13. The reason isn’t hard to find. Girls mature sooner and tend to start puberty a few months to a couple of years before boys.
During those years females see rapid increases in hormone levels, particularly in estrogen and testosterone.
However, there is a class of hormones that are less well known, but even more relevant to women and acne at this time … androgens.
As the name suggests, androgen hormones are shared by both males and females. But, the rise in females occurs sooner, although once they reach puberty the androgen levels in males rise higher, so they tend to suffer more severe acne.
About two thirds of all teenage women will develop acne
At least in mild form, but female acne tends to last longer, at least cyclically.
As a woman enters her 20s, her menstrual cycle tends to raise the likelihood of developing at least mild acne.
Since that occurs regularly once per month, so does the acne. The week prior to the onset of menstrual flow is typically the worst for almost 62% of women.
This problem persists for women throughout the years of their reproductive capacity.
Over 50% of women (as opposed to only 42.5% of men) between ages 20-29 develop acne. The numbers dip radically for the years 30-39 to 35.2% and 20.1% respectively.
By the time she’s reached her 40s, the number has lowered to 26.3% (12% for men). For those aged 50 and older the numbers are about 15% and 7% for women v’s men.
The severity of women and acne follows a similar pattern.
Between the third and fourth weeks of the menstrual cycle, inflammations increase about 25%.
Even blackheads and whiteheads rise about 20% during this time.
Pregnancy offers some relief, but it only really shifts the pattern for female acne and doesn’t eliminate a womans acne entirely.
During pregnancy, breakouts can occur at random. Skin changes, even for those who have never had acne, are a common occurrence when a woman is carrying a child.
Again, during pregnancy significant hormonal changes are taking place. The largest number of pregnant women and acne cases tend to occur during the first trimester. That shouldn’t be surprising, since this is the interval during which hormone levels are changing most rapidly from their usual amount and distribution.
Delivery of the baby will often put an end to the outbreaks, but they tend to persist longer in women who breast feed.
Women and acne medication during pregnancy …
Though a woman always has to be more careful about the medications she takes during pregnancy, normal over the counter acne treatments are considered safe.
However, some studies have suggested that acne treatments such as isotretinoin (brand name: Accutane) and tetracycline (doxycycline), treatments for severe acne, should be avoided during pregnancy as they may possibly cause birth defects or development problems in the fetus.
Whenever there is any doubt, consult a dermatologist.
And always, be sure to use over the counter acne treatments and medications in the manner directed in the instructions.
If acne persists for more than a couple of weeks, or grows worse, see a dermatologist.
He or she may recommend a stronger treatment, such as acne prescription medication.