Epidemiology and Management of Acne in Adult Women


Adult acne is becoming recognized as a unique form of acne including either early (adolescent) acne that remains persistent or late onset acne. Women are predominantly affected in adult acne and will be focus of this review. The epidemiology and the characteristics of adult acne are discussed including clinical differences between adolescent and adult acne. We review topical therapies such as antibiotics, retinoids, dapsone, azelaic acid and combination-based therapies. We also review systemic therapeutic considerations, including antibiotics, isotretinoin, oral contraceptives, and hormonal modulators. We discuss the use of light-based therapies such as visible light and photodynamic therapy. Alternative therapies such as the use of botanical and phytochemical therapies are reviewed as well. Finally, we discuss the clinical and laboratory screening for considering polycystic ovarian syndrome when evaluating adult women with acne.

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WA Fisk declares no conflicts of interest.

HA Lev-Tov declares no conflicts of interest.

RK Sivamani declares no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Correspondence to Raja K. Sivamani.

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Fisk, W.A., Lev-Tov, H.A. & Sivamani, R.K. Epidemiology and Management of Acne in Adult Women. Curr Derm Rep 3, 29–39 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13671-014-0071-4

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  • Adult
  • Woman
  • Acne
  • Epidemiology
  • Management
  • Hormone
  • Polycystic
  • Ovarian
  • Syndrome
  • Therapy
  • Isotretinoin
  • Botanical
  • Phytochemical