New Survey: Americans Have Missed Out on Dating, Parties, School And Work Because of Acne

August 11, 2021
New Survey Americans Have Missed Out on Dating Parties School And Work Because of Acne image

When it comes to the most common insecurities now that we are transitioning back to life, weight and acne top the list for teens and adults.

Americans missed out on dating, school and hanging out with friends because of acne during the past year, according to a new survey by University Medical, the manufacturer of the Acne Wipeout skincare system.

After more than a year of looking at themselves on screens and hiding behind social media filters and masks, 41 percent of respondents feel nervous to get back to regular life. Plus, when it comes to the most common insecurities now that we are transitioning back to life, weight and acne top the list for both teens (40% and 38%) and adults (57% and 30%), the survey showed.

"We are in this important transition period when we are all trying to get back to life and our old routines, but for many, confidence levels take a hit when we're no longer behind masks and virtual filters," says Matt Stevens, Vice President at University Medical, in a news release. "The study reveals that acne is a top cause of self-doubt and missing out on life among today's teens and adults. Our #NOMOAcne campaign represents our mission to help teens and adults with their overall skin health, so acne is no longer a reason to miss out on life's most important moments."

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Acne Wipeout brand, asked 2,000 U.S. respondents — including 1,000 general population between the ages of 18 and 55, and 1,000 who identified themselves as mothers of teenagers (ages 13-18) — about how their teens' and their own confidence levels have been affected by the pandemic. 

Highlights from the survey include:

  • One-fourth of Americans have cancelled a date because of a blemish with others missing out on life by skipping a party (24%), school (21%), hanging out with friends (20%) and work/business meetings (16%).
  • On first impression, respondents are most likely to associate clear skin with confidence (33%) and acne-prone skin with stress (19%).
  • After the pandemic, 63 percent of respondents are more determined than ever to take better care of their skin.
  • Fully 38 percent of moms notice a negative change in their teens skin during the pandemic - puberty (21%), wearing a mask (20%) and stress (20%) have contributed to the change.


The pandemic has negatively impacted people's overall confidence levels when it comes to self-image – both virtually and in real life. Behind the screen, respondents felt the need to "rethink" how they look and even turn off their cameras because they feel insecure. After a "virtual year", respondents are also nervous about getting back to life.

  • Fully 47 percent of Americans feel nervous to get back to life and go back out in the 'real world' without masks or social media filters.
  • Forty eight percent of respondents have taken steps to "rethink" how they look in virtual meetings, including washing their face more frequently (46%) and wearing heavier makeup than usual (45%).
  • Forty eight percent have turned off their camera during a video call because they feel insecure about their appearance.
  • Fully 33% feel less confident since the pandemic started.

Teens, Self Confidence and Mom-Teen Communication
Teens can often struggle with self-confidence simply due to the impact of social media and comparing themselves to others – with weight and acne having the biggest impact. From a parenting perspective, it's a sensitive topic that can sometimes be challenging to address.

  • Close to 60% of moms of teens believe social media has influenced how teens perceive themselves.
  • Moms believe that peer pressure on social media (42%), influencers/vloggers (39%) and Photoshopped pictures (37%) have made their own teenage child more insecure.
  • Moms of teens believe their children are most insecure about weight (40%), acne (38%), wearing glasses (19%) and crooked teeth (19%).
  • More than half (52%) of moms "sometimes feel helpless" when they try to talk to their teen about difficult topics, saying it's much more challenging to discuss puberty/body changes (31%) than death (25%) and even alcohol/drugs (19%).
  • One in three (28%) said they're hesitant to encourage their child to take better care of their skin, and more than one in five (21%) worry it's not their place to do so.

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