By Rajnish Mago, MD (bio)
1. It is very common
In fact, acne vulgaris is the commonest of all skin diseases (Dreno and Poli, 2003).
Isn’t acne something that teenagers have but they grow out of it? Well, it is true that 90% of teenagers have acne but 50% of them continue to have it as adults (Dawson and Dallavalle, 2013). So, even those of us who are not child and adolescent psychiatrists see many patients who have acne.
Thankfully, by the time people reach the age of 40 years, only 1% of men and 5% of women still have acne (Dawson and Dallavalle, 2013). This little bit of information can help us reassure patients who may be surprised or concerned that they have acne even as adults. But, sometimes, acne in an adult woman can also be a sign of something else (see below).
2. It can be very upsetting
People with severe acne usually find it very distressing to them due to its cosmetic effects, including possible scarring (see image below).
3. It can be a symptom of PCOS
As discussed on THIS PAGE, excessive acne is present in about one-third of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
4. Psychotropic medication can cause acne-like lesions
Treatment with lithium can be associated with acne-like (“acneiform”) lesions as discussed on THIS PAGE. Various SSRIs can also cause acne-like lesions on the face, chest, and upper back (Warnock and Morris, 2002).
Warnock JK, Morris DW. Adverse cutaneous reactions to antidepressants. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2002;3(5):329-39. Review. PubMed PMID: 12069639.
Copyright 2019, Rajnish Mago, MD. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided as general education for medical professionals. It is not intended or recommended for patients or other lay persons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified health care professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare professionals should always check this website for the most recently updated information.