It is a widely held myth that almost everyone will “grow out” of their acne by early adulthood. While many individuals see improvement and clearing of their acne over time, others continue to experience acne into early adulthood and beyond. In fact, some women who do not suffer from acne as a teenager will develop acne initially as an adult. A recent epidemiologic study by Di Landro et al., recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology from Italy, provides data to help us understand what factors may play a role in adult female acne.
The study examined 248 women over the age of 25 years old with acne and compared them to a similar number of women who do not suffer from acne. A multivariate statistical analysis identified that female adult acne was associated with a family history of parents or siblings with acne, history of acne during adolescence, psychological stress, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables or fresh fish.
Of note, the study only identifies an association but does not confirm causation. Nonetheless, the associations are compelling and it is reasonable to believe that stress reduction and a healthy diet containing vegetables, fruits, and fish rather than high glycemic index foods such as sweets and simple starches may benefit adult women who are hoping to improve their acne. The study comes out just in time for a New Year’s Resolution!