If you, like many people, may believe that only teenagers get acne, it’s time to change your perception. While blemishes are most common during puberty, even babies can be affected, and some people develop acne-prone skin in adulthood.
Acne is sometimes labelled according to the age at which it occurs: baby acne, teenage acne, adult acne etc., but it is also described according to the severity of its symptoms (e.g. acne conglobata). This article looks at different forms and types of acne and explains the names and symptoms of each different type.
Reading this article may help you identify the type of acne you or someone you know has, but if you are still in doubt after reading it, you should consult your dermatologist as they will be able to give you the information you need.
We use terms such as comedones, papules and pustules to describe the different forms of acne. If you’re not familiar with these, you can find an explanation of the terms used to describe blemishes in Acne-prone skin in general.
Four age-related types of acne
Acne is most likely to occur when hormones are fluctuating and is broadly categorised into four different age-related types:
1) Acne neonatum
Also known as neonatal acne, baby acne occurs in 20% of newborns. It normally occurs in the form of closed comedones (whiteheads). Occasionally open comedones (blackheads), papules and pustules occur. The acne is most likely to appear on the cheeks and rarely scars the skin. Boys are four times more likely to experience baby acne than girls.
2) Acne infantum
Also known as toddler acne, acne infantilis, infantile acne or acne juvenilis. The symptoms are usually a few comedones side by side, or single papules or pustules. It usually appears on the face, particularly the cheeks, and occurs frequently in boys between the ages of three and twelve months. In rare cases this type of acne can scar.
3) Acne vulgaris
Also known as teenage acne, puberty acne, normal acne or acne simplex. The symptoms normally range in severity from light acne (known as acne comedonica) through to moderate acne (acne papulopustulosa) or severe acne (acne conglobata).
It usually appears on the face and upper body, mostly during puberty (between the ages of 15 and 18)*. Between 70% and 95% of adolescents are affected to some degree by acne. Between 2% and 7% of teenagers who’ve had severe acne experience scarring *.
4) Acne tarda
Also known as adult acne or late acne, it usually occurs in adults (from approximately age 25 onwards). In 20% to 40% of the population, acne either persists beyond the age of 24 or begins after that age.
Adult acne is more common among women than men as it is triggered by hormone fluctuations, stress, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. It usually appears on the face neck and upper body. Symptoms range in severity from light acne, moderate acne through to severe acne, and it can leave scarring.
Take care of your skin by frequently getting your dermatologist to check it or try the Eucerin DermoPURIFYER range that is specifically formulated for blemish- and acne-prone skin. You can find the range at Clicks and Dischem nationwide.
Always remember that our hormones behave differently during different stages of our lives. This means that acne, where the primary internal cause is hormonal, differs depending on our age. Read more about the relationship between acne and hormones.
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*1 C.C.Zouboulis, Hautarzt 2014 65: 733-750