Results of a recent American Acne and Rosacea Society (AARS) survey highlight the significant health burden and everyday impact of acne on young professionals. According to the survey of 1,004 men and women between the ages of 22 and 30 conducted by The Harris Poll, many people whose acne persists beyond teenage years into their early professional lives struggle substantially because of it. Nearly three in four of those surveyed believe most people their age no longer have acne, driving feelings of embarrassment to still have the condition at their age in more than 80 percent of this group.
"Acne has a very real impact on patients' lives that often goes under-recognized, particularly in adults who feel ashamed to still be dealing with a 'teenager's problem.' The consequences of acne, including scarring and hyperpigmentation, or discolored patches of skin, can affect people for years after the skin clears," explains Julie Harper, MD, FAAD, AARS Immediate Past President and dermatologist in Birmingham, AL. "Because of this, the psychosocial impact of acne can have far-reaching effects on people's quality of life and daily activities, driving low self-esteem and shifting how they interact in social and workplace environments."
Survey respondents say their acne has had a negative impact on their job and career ambitions due to challenges in the workplace. From being judged or treated differently because of their acne to having fewer career opportunities or experiencing slow professional advancement, 42 percent of young professionals report that they believe their acne holds them back. More than half of employees in their 20s with acne say that having clear skin is important to doing well in their career, and many feel that their coworkers with clear skin will advance more quickly in their careers or that their acne has prevented them from getting a promotion.
Findings show that acne also takes a toll outside of the office. Almost half of survey respondents say they have avoided seeing friends or making plans due to an acne breakout, and while the 20s are known as prime dating years, 46 percent of respondents (both men and women) report feeling so unattractive or self-conscious that they have given up on dating completely until they have clear skin. Half of unmarried singles with acne even go so far as to say they believe that their friends with clear skin will get married before them. Those in romantic relationships are not immune to this mindset, as one in three individuals report that their partner has made negative comments about their skin.
When it comes to solutions for their acne, nearly 70 percent feel they are doing everything they can to manage their acne, and more than three quarters of those surveyed remain at a loss on what else can be done. "We urge those still struggling with acne at any age to advocate for themselves and find a dermatologist who understands the true impact of the condition. There are so many new treatment options available, and treatment should be individualized for each person, because each person's acne is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and your dermatologist can help you determine what approach is best for you and your acne," Dr. Harper concludes.
The mission of the AARS is to promote, support, develop and provide an educational forum for the exchange of information, to promote clinical research and mentoring opportunities for dermatology healthcare professionals, and to improve the care of patients who suffer from acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, otherwise known as "acne inversa," and rosacea.