Men’s skin is different than women’s skin. It is more oily, has larger pores, and can be more acne prone. Men typical have more sweat as well. Other hormones that drive some of men’s acne problems are not present in women, and women’s acne-inducing hormones are different than men’s. These are a few of the reasons why you can’t treat adult acne in men and women the same. This is going to be a topic of interest at SCALE 2019 Music City, and something you should become familiar with.
While adolescent boys tend to have bad acne due to the overabundance of sebum they produce, older men can also get acne that is triggered by hormones. Those hormones cause an increase in sebum production, which instigates the breakouts. The hormone that is to blame for this is androgen; and while women have these hormones too, men have a much heavier load of them. These breakouts can become worse with sweat, caused by heat or exercise. There are some medications that trigger adult acne in men as well, such as lithium and costeroids, and acne appears to have a hereditary link.
When men get acne, their faces are more likely to scar from it due to the severity of the outbreaks. And while men have more severe acne than women do, most men that have adult acne issues also struggled as teens. One thing to note in men is that ingrown hairs from poor shaving can frequently be confused with acne. All About Acne, an online resource dedicated to education about acne, encourages men to make sure that they are seeking out professional treatment if their acne flare ups do not respond quickly to over the counter solutions.
To most men, acne is an annoyance and bothersome, but it rarely as a deep impact psychologically or socially.
While men largely have worse outbreaks than women, there are more women overall that suffer from breakouts. This can be blamed on hormones as well, and women have a more complex hormonal makeup than men do, with varying levels of hormones in their bodies on an almost constant basis.
As noted by VeryWell Health,
Most of us, even if we don’t have consistent acne, can identify with “PMS pimples.” Many women find they break out a week or so before their period. Pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause are other times when acne commonly flares up because of the hormonal shifts within the body.
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology points out that up to 22% of adult women in the United States suffer from acne vulgaris, compared to less than 5% of men. The same article also points out that women are usually much more negatively impacted by the acne because it is such a visible disorder and has a deep psychological impact on so many.
In addition to being troublesome, acne and breakouts were associated with negative self-perceptions. More than 75 percent of participants “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that acne made them feel less confident, more self-conscious around other people, frustrated, and embarrassed. Participants coped with acne in various ways; wearing makeup (58.2%) and “popping” or squeezing pimples (52.9%) were the most frequently reported coping methods. Most did not feel confident or attractive without wearing makeup to conceal their acne. Among those who used makeup regularly, more than one-third felt “not at all” attractive or confident in their looks without makeup.
Among participants who were employed or in school fuller part-time, 12.3 percent had missed going to work or school in the past four weeks because of an acne breakout. Almost half (43.4%) had difficulty concentrating at work or school “some” or “all of the time” because of their acne. In addition, more than one-quarter (28.7%) reported that acne had interfered with work or school. Acne had at least a moderate impact on work ability (at work or school) for approximately one-third of the female participants (35.2% responded “moderately,” “quite a bit,” or “extremely”).
Treating Acne in Women vs Men
There are clearly differences in male and female adult acne, and these differences drive a nuanced treatment approach. Before going down that path, however, there are things that both men and women can do to help control acne when it happens. Good skin hygiene: cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing can help. As can showering after exercise to remove the excess dirt, sweat and oil that can contribute to clogged pores. However, in spite of even the best hygiene, acne can still occur. When it does, it can have devastating physical and/or psychological impacts that are life altering.
There are a few things to take into account about the patient you seek to help – their age and gender are two of the most crucial. Also, adherence to medication, as noted by Dermatology News, which varies statistically by gender as well, “When evaluating acne patients, the importance of gender cannot be ignored. Gender differences in cutaneous physiology and medication adherence require dermatologists to develop gender-specific acne treatment plans,” says guest editorialist Terrence C Keaney, MD.