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The ins and outs of acne and debunking acne myths | Wear the Gown

Acne affects 50 million Americans, many of them older.

SAN ANTONIO — Acne can be a never-ending battle for control over your skin. 

June is Acne Awareness Month, but awareness is a year-long challenge for those suffering with the condition.

"Many of us are familiar with it," said Dr. Sonia Batra, a dermatologist. "Unfortunately, it's the bumps, the pimples, the whiteheads, the blackheads that can occur on the face, on the chest, the back, the upper arms."  

Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting up to 50 million people every year, about 85% of them between the ages of 12 and 24. In younger adults, boys and girls are affected equally, but that changes when they grow up. 

"In adults, four times as many women suffer from adult acne compared to men," Batra said. "And that's because we really think in adult women the hormones drive a type of acne that occurs on the lower face, the jawline and the upper neck."  

What causes acne? Excess or high production of oil in the pore, buildups of dead skin cells in the pore and growth of bacteria in the pore. Family history, medications and hormones are also known to play a role in developing acne.  

And acne, it turns out, is a big business. 

The U.S. acne treatment market, as of 2022, is valued at $4.5 billion. By 2029, that figure is expected to grow to over $6 billion. 

It affects more than your wallet, but your mental health as well; one in three people deal with acne-related depression. 

Separation fact from fiction

There are two big acne myths to pick apart, however. 

The first: It only affects teenagers. 

 "Certainly we're seeing a lot more adults suffering from acne, especially women who suffer for acne from decades or suffer from acne for decades," Batra said. 

Another myth: It can be simply scrubbed away. 

"It's actually a disservice to them because acne prone skin is actually quite sensitive," Batra added. "And when you strip it, you actually have a compensatory effect where you produce more oil, you break out more and you create a cycle of inflammation."  

For more about how to treat acne, including a new laser treatment, watch the video at the top of this article.

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear the Gown coverage here


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