Understanding Acne – By the Numbers
Acne is one of the most prevalent skin diseases around the globe – right now an estimated number of 633 million people suffer from some kind of acne outbreak. With around 60 million cases in the US, acne has risen to the number one skin disease in the country and the numbers are rising. Usually, Acne peaks during the puberty of boys and girls and become less frequent for young adults. Around 40 % of adults suffer from Acne after the age of 25, whereas women are overly represented. For many people, Acne leads to severe psychological stress and social withdrawal.
In this article, I will take a closer look at the statistics around acne to give a better understanding of the disorder and the implications we can derive from it.
Visualizing the numbers helps to acknowledge that acne is a severe skin disorder which affects people through all ages, social and ethnic groups, and genders. It should empower them to not feel alone, don't fear to speak up and to seek help if needed. Additionally, the infographic is intended to increase awareness about the severe psychological consequences it has for many people. Consequences acne sufferers and non-sufferers all too often don't pay enough attention to.
Acne Statistics – How many people suffer from Acne World-Wide?
Globally, Acne is the 8th most common skin disorder with about 633 million people suffering from it in some related context. In the US, Acne has evolved to be the most common skin disorder counting in between 50 and 60 million cases right after Eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis. It equals up to about 18 % of the population. The difference to developing countries, where only about 8 – 10 % of the population are affected is likely due to our high-glycolic diet, environmental influences like pollution and/or also genetic differences.
Out of the 50 – 60 Million Americans about 20 Million have to fight with severe acne and acne scarring. Striking is that in 2013 only a total of 5 Million people sought medical treatment for acne. (American Academy of Dermatology, 2018)
Until people reach their adulthood with 25 years, an astonishing 85 % have to deal with acne outbreaks in some way or the other. The production of high levels of androgens during puberty explains these numbers to a fairly large part.
How is Acne distributed among Ages and Gender?
Generally, acne starts with the beginning of the puberty and increasing levels of androgens.
Until the age of 25, it is evenly distributed between boys and girls. Whereas Boys tend to peak a little later between 14 and 17 compared to girls whose acne peaks between 13 and 16.
Although acne is primarily perceived as a disorder of adolescence about 60 % of the people continue to have acne into their adulthood. Only a small fraction of people experience acne after adolescence for the first time. This fraction incorporates cases of pregnancy acne which is caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
With increasing age woman become overly represented.
About 60 % percent of the people who suffered from acne until the adulthood see an improvement over time, which is reflected by the downward sloping graph.
Recent scientific research is alarming and suggests that the prevalence of adult acne increases: Dermatology clinics in the UK state that the number of adult patients has risen by 200 % and the average age of acne patients has increased from 20.5 to 26. 5 years.
Doctors and other skin experts expect the causes in changes in our diets, hormones and stress levels, environmental factors like pollution but also because people more commonly choose wrong skincare products that don’t suit their personal skin type. For example, many anti-aging creams are very rich which in turn can clog pores and cause acne.
Those who suffer from Acne
Some of the products turned out to be really effective for the treatment and some turned out to be a commercial scam, which is really hard to spot for individuals. That might be partly the reason for the fact that about 40 % of people who suffer from acne are not doing anything about it.
20 % are seeking advice in skin care centers and only about 10 % percent seek advice from a physician or dermatologist. Additionally, 30 % rely on over the counter products in their fight against acne.
To help you choose the right over the counter products, we steadily evaluate which are the best products on the market. We focus on evaluating the products regarding their effectiveness against acne, to which skin type they suit, which ingredients are being used and whether the price is justifiable.
Which are the most common areas to have Acne?
Acne typically develops in areas with the lots oil glands, thus face, chest, neck, back, upper arms, shoulders and on the buttock are primarily affected. From all people that ever experience outbreaks 99 percent exhibit outbreaks in the face and about 60 percent on the body.
Undeniably your face is the most visible area of your body and unfortunately, it is also the area where acne tends to show up the most. Typically, it is separated into the following kinds
Each of the types might be due to different causes and it is very important to inform yourself if you really want to get rid of your acne in a sustainable and long-lasting way. As for example, Acne on the forehead might be caused by reasons that lie as far from each other as a wrong cosmetic product, an unfavorable hairstyle, wrong nutrition or the impact of the sun.
On the body, acne becomes less frequented with only about 60 percent of the people having outbreaks, but it can be just as painful, annoying and frustrating as acne in the face.
Technically, it is caused by the same reason as in the face but very different factors influence it. As we, for example, tend to sweat more while wearing certain types of clothes in the summer months or simply because exfoliating our back is much harder than exfoliating our face.
The most common types of acne on the body are:
- Acne on the Back and Neck
- Acne on the Chest
- Acne on upper Arms and Shoulders
- Acne on the Buttock
Check out our detailed articles, if you like to get to know more about one or more of the types. They thoroughly describe expert opinion on causes, prevention, and treatment of the according to acne type.
The Psychological Consequences of Acne
Many people who suffer from acne over a longer period of time yield significant psychological consequences and associate a whole bunch of negative feelings with their skin disorder. They are suspect to psychological stress and tend to socially withdraw themselves on a regular basis.
The negative psychological impact of acne on people’s lives is a largely neglected consequence of the skin disorder about which it is very important to increase awareness. Adolescences in school must be better protected from bullying and educated about the potential treatments to get rid of their acne. Even though a successful treatment will not necessarily mean to get rid it a 100 percent, but the chances to keep acne under control to a very large degree are more than good!
Change picture of the society, reinforce support from society and family members and show options that are available to fight psychological issues
Feelings that are associated with acne range from feeling slightly depressed, embarrassed or inferior to others to feelings that significantly influence the life quality of people like severe depression, withdrawal from social activities or developing self-esteem issues.
I deeply encourage people who feel like their acne is impacting their mental well-being to consult a doctor, therapist or local care center. Even starting to talk about your feelings with your friends or family is a step in the right direction – don’t leave it to chance that your acne will disappear at some point. There are plenty of opportunities to get rid of your acne or at least keep it under control, don’t waste your precious time waiting for relief!
How do numbers evolve in future?
The UK the Telegraph reports that the increase in Adult Acne cases is “like an epidemic”. A study finds that in 92 private dermatology clinics the numbers of adults seeking specialist acne treatment have risen by around 200 percent since the previous year.
The possible explanation for those rising numbers varies from changes in genetics, diets, environmental pollution, hormones and stress but also the myriad of new skin care products we use.
Dr. Stefanie Williams (Medical Director of the European Dermatology London) states that the social ideal of constantly trying to look young strongly contributes to the increasing cases of adult acne. As especially anti-aging products tend to be very rich in ingredients and clog pores which in turn leads to outbreaks.
Additionally, especially in cities increasing environmental pollution leads to high levels of toxins and microparticles of dirt in the air that are prone to clog pores, irritate the skin and cause infections. Rising stress hormone levels due to increasing pollution, noise levels or insecure working conditions also contribute to the rise.
While correlation never means causation until it is scientifically proven, comparing numbers of acne cases in the third-world countries that differ in diets, levels of pollution and stress with the number of acne cases in first world countries we can see a significant difference.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experience with everyone in the comments! If you have any questions regarding the numbers or you would like to get to know something else, just state your question. I will continuously update the article to incorporate more data.