While acne may traditionally be viewed as a teenage "rite of passage," results from a groundbreaking national survey released today show that acne is a problem that also commonly affects adults. The survey finds that acne can negatively impact many aspects of a person's life -- professional, academic, physical and social -- and a basic lack of knowledge may be preventing or hindering appropriate treatment options.
Conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Retin-A Micro Pump, the Skin Matters 2008 Survey is a comprehensive analysis designed to address acne-related issues and treatment considerations among teens, adults, parents and dermatologists.
Adults with acne report that the condition affects multiple facets of their lives, with 38% agreeing it is more stressful having acne as an adult than as a teenager, and 50% finding it to be unappealing, more so than having facial wrinkles (36%) or gray hair (29%). Adults with acne also state that it negatively impacts their self-confidence (41%) and mood (31%). Some report acne's negative impacts on their lifestyle, such as refraining from asking for or accepting a date (9%), canceling social plans (7%), getting passed over for a promotion or raise (3%).
While people get acne well into their forties and fifties, many adults with acne believed that they would no longer have it by the time they reached their twenties (67%). Survey results show that, on average, nearly one-half of dermatologists' acne patients (46%) are adults and two-thirds (66%) currently see more adult acne patients than they did one year ago.
"Acne is definitely not just a teen issue," says Richard Fried, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Director, Yardley Dermatology and Yardley Skin Enhancement and Wellness Center, and author of Healing Adult Acne. "It has become increasingly common for adults to experience acne -- one in five women who suffer from acne is between the ages of 25 and 40. Acne can be even more difficult for this age group, as it can be responsible for stress, depression, social withdrawal, job impairment and intimacy problems. Unfortunately, these emotions can also cause the onset or worsening of acne."
Interestingly, the severity of one's acne does not necessarily determine the amount of emotional distress a person may endure. Some patients with mild acne will not leave their home or participate in social activities during a breakout. In contrast, some patients with more severe acne continue on with their day-to-day lives, seeming to experience less of an emotional impact.
"The effect acne has on each individual varies. It is the dermatologists' responsibility to talk with their patients about acne, the psychological impact it may have on their lives, and to determine an efficient treatment plan to improve their patients' skin and quality of lives," says Dr. Fried.
The Skin Matters 2008 Survey finds that almost 9 out of 10 (89%) adults with acne believe they have some control over how their skin looks, and among those who use non-prescription medication, they typically spend $10 a month on non-prescription acne products. However, the survey also shows knowledge gaps in skin health that may hinder an adult's ability to effectively treat their acne. These gaps include the belief that drinking lots of water can prevent acne (60%) or that vigorously washing one's face is one of the best ways to take care of acne (35%).
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly every case of acne can be treated. In fact, 72% of dermatologists agree that acne treatment options have improved considerably over the past five years. Tretinoin, the number one prescribed retinoid for the treatment of acne, has proven to be highly effective over many years, and delivery systems, such as the Retin-A Micro Pump, have evolved to increase treatment compliance.
While acne is very treatable, more than 9 out of 10 dermatologists (91%) say patient compliance is a barrier to successful treatment. About 54% of adults with acne say they follow their skin treatment regimen exactly as prescribed; yet, only 2% of dermatologists say the same about their patients. Managing patients' result expectations of acne treatments is also an issue -- while patients expect to see overnight results, most dermatologists report that in reality, actual results can typically be seen in an average of 7.8 weeks.
"The Skin Matters 2008 Survey demonstrates that adults have just as hard a time with treatment compliance as teens," says Dr. Fried. "Many patients have difficulty following their treatment plan due to excess messiness, medications taking too long to apply, or using incorrect amounts of medicine that subsequently cause irritation. Adults with acne should consult with their dermatologists because there are effective, easy-to-use treatment options available. Additionally, patients and physicians should make more of an effort to listen and understand one another during the office visit."
Retin-A Micro Pump was specifically designed to reduce compliance barriers. Microsphere technology slowly releases tretinoin over time, reducing the irritation commonly seen with other tretinoin formulas. Retin-A Micro Pump delivers a consistent amount of medication with each use, preventing overuse, and making acne treatment easy and cost effective.