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Is Acne More Common in Men or Women?

Are men or women more likely to deal with acne? Learn about the gender and acne breakdown here.

Read on

Most people have experience with some level of acne at some point in their lives, but there are some distinct differences between men and women and their likely experience with acne.

So, which gender has to deal with acne more often?

It turns out that it isn’t a clear answer, and may have more to do with your current age to figure out whether men or women have more of a struggle with acne.

Read on to see if acne is more common depending on your gender, and what other variables may be at play when it comes to pimples.

Acne occurrence depends on how old you are

There is not a clear-cut “winner” in the case of acne occurrence between men or women, since the acne occurrence rates seem to flip flop as people get older.

In the angsty, hormonal, teenage years, both guys and girls have the highest rates of acne, as compared to their more mature counterparts.

Between the ages of 12-24, about 85% of people report at least some level of acne, and during these early years, the acne tends to be more severe than adult acne.

And when comparing the two genders during this time, guys do tend to have slightly higher rates of acne than girls in their teenage years.

However, after everyone grows up, women start having higher rates of adult acne than men, and may even experience their first bout of acne during adulthood.

One study found that adult acne affects up to 12-22% of adult women, as compared to only around 3% of adult men.

Acne rates for both genders seem to continue to taper down through the 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, but women still come out in the lead for acne prevalence when comparing head to head.

Learn More: What Does Jawline and Chin Acne Mean?: Acne Mapping

What are the causes of acne in women?

Acne occurs in both genders for the same reasons - clogged pores from excess oils, dirt, bacteria, and dry skin lodging into pores.

But, the things which help drive variables like pore size and oil production can change with hormonal changes, stress, dehydration, cleansing routines, and if it is that time of the month.

Women tend to have constantly fluctuating hormone levels for most of their lives, and in one study 62.2% of women questioned reported worsening acne around the time of menstruation.

These changes in hormones during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause could play a big role in why women do not leave acne breakouts in their teenage years as easily as men.

In addition to hormonal changes, women also tend to use more cosmetics on their faces than men, including make-up.

If these products are not carefully chosen to be non-pore clogging (non-comedogenic), washed off properly, or switched out on a regular basis -- your beauty products could be contributing to fresh bouts of adult acne.

How to help treat and prevent acne in women

There is not a lot that can be done about your natural hormonal changes and acne breakouts, although some women do seek out birth control measures to help control hormonal surges and the subsequent pimples from them.

Going on birth control just to help with acne does not work for every woman, generally only occurs when the acne is severe, and you will need to speak with your doctor to make sure this is a good course of action for you.

Being more meticulous about any and all skincare and make-up products that go on your face can also help reduce breakouts if they are from cheap, irritating, or pore-clogging cosmetics.

Implement a consistent skincare regimen that emphasizes gentle cleaning twice daily, plus exfoliation on occasion, and soothing and moisturizing creams.

If your acne is bothersome, severe, or you are unable to get it under control with over-the-counter products like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid products, it may be time to speak with your doctor about prescription acne treatments.

Women tend to already be more conscientious of wrinkle prevention in their adult years and may want to opt for an acne treatment containing prescription Tretinoin to help reduce acne while increasing skin turnover and reducing the appearance and formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Our Strut Acne Formula contains prescription Tretinoin along with bacteria-busting Clindamycin to address acne from multiple angles.

Have a free online consultation with our Strut Health doctors today to see if Strut Acne Formula is a good choice for your acne (and more).

What are the causes of acne in men?

Acne in men can also have a hormonal role, but since the most extreme fluctuations hormonally-speaking in a man’s life tends to occur with puberty, the teenage years are when men often have the worst acne breakouts.

When we are talking about men’s hormones, we are mostly referring to Testosterone, which can lead to more production of skin oils called sebum, and thicker (more pore-clogging) oils than what girls and women tend to secrete.

In addition to the teenage raging hormones, guys can be very active in sports and outside activities which can increase the sweat, dirt, and skin irritation from abrasive gear and sportswear.

Once men start shaving, this can also rope in a few more skin-irritating (and potentially breakout-causing) issues in the form of dull razors, harsh shaving creams and after-shave products, and ingrown hairs.

Also Read: Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne: How To Tell Acne Severity Levels

How to help treat and prevent acne in men

Taking all the usual steps of washing your face twice a day, exfoliating on occasion, moisturizing, and using over the counter acne products when needed to keep acne at bay is always a good start.

Really active men should also take care to wash and shower off post-workout as soon as possible to help prevent sweat-related breakouts on their chest, back, and face.

Use sensitive skin shaving and facial products, and properly sharpened razors to help keep irritation and potential breakouts at bay.

For severe breakouts that happen often or do not respond to over-the-counter products, talking with a doctor about prescription acne options is a good starting point.

For males, acne tends to be more inflammatory than acne in women, meaning that scarring is more of a risk in men -- making proper acne care all that more important.

Strut Acne Formula combines Tretinoin with prescription topical antibiotic Clindamycin and a skin-soothing B-vitamin to help cover all of the bases.

Have a free online visit with our U.S. licensed doctors to see if prescription acne treatment is a good choice for you.

If you are a good candidate for treatment, your prescription acne cream can be shipped quickly and discreetly to your front door.

Is acne more common in men or women: Bottom line

  • Males are more likely than females to have acne during their teenage years to early 20s.
  • After the ages of twenties and onward, females are more likely to experience acne as compared to men of the same age.
  • Women may have acne for the first time once they are adults, but it is less likely for males to experience acne for the first time once they are older.
  • Males tend to have more inflammatory acne that could lead to more scarring than women with acne.
  • Women experience more hormonal fluctuation related acne, and breakouts may align with monthly cycles or major hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause.
  • Women who wear make-up or cosmetics may experience more acne if they do not properly clean off the products daily, and using old or pore-clogging cosmetics can lead to more acne.
  • Men who are very active in sports may experience chest, back, and facial acne from not cleaning off sweat and dirt soon enough after activity.
  • Testosterone in men can increase the production of skin oils, as well as increase the thickness of the sebum, making it more likely to clog pores and create pimples.
  • Facial shaving in males may also increase irritation, ingrown hairs, and acne breakouts.
  • In men or women, if basic skincare and over the counter acne products do not help with breakouts, you should speak with a doctor about prescription acne medication options.
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