Jun 7, 2018
Over half of people who have ever had acne feel it has affected their self-confidence
A new survey, released today to mark the launch of Acne Support (www.acnesupport.org.uk), shows that 54 per cent of British adults who have ever experienced acne feel that it has had a negative impact on their self-confidence, and 22 per cent feel that it has had a negative impact on their social interactions.
The Acne Support website is the British Association of Dermatologists’ new flagship acne resource, providing information on acne types, causes, treatments, prevention, scarring, as well as emotional support, and practical tips for covering acne.
Acne, unlike most common skin conditions, doesn’t have a dedicated charity or patient support group offering advice to the public, even though 48 per cent of people reported having had acne*, and 19 per cent of adults 25 and older reported having had adult acne**. Because of this, misinformation is rife and many people, even those we severe forms of acne, are ignorant about effective treatments. When prompted with a list of treatments and remedies, 34 per cent of people didn’t know which were effective and safe acne treatments, of those that did provide an answer, 22 per cent picked the option ‘sweating it out’, a completely ineffective approach.
The website, developed by consultant dermatologists with an expertise in acne, features over 40 videos, covering every topic. These include videos filmed with top makeup artists and skin camouflage experts, explaining common mistakes people make when covering their acne and showing how best to do it.
Acne can have a significant impact on various aspects of people’s lives, which should not be underestimated or trivialised. To illustrate this, survey respondents were asked a series of ‘would you rather’ statements, to see how experiencing a month-long case of severe acne compared to other scenarios.
- 24 per cent would rather see their favourite sports team lose
- 15 per cent would rather see the party they voted for lose a general election
- 11 per cent would rather get a speeding ticket
- 10 per cent would rather forget a parent’s birthday
- 7 per cent would rather go over their overdraft by £500
- 5 per cent would rather a friend lost their job
- 3 per cent would rather be dumped by their partner
Amongst people who reported that they had had severe acne before, these statistics almost doubled across the board:
- 41 per cent would rather see their favourite sports team lose
- 28 per cent would rather see the party they voted for lose a general election
- 21 per cent would rather get a speeding ticket
- 20 per cent would rather forget a parent’s birthday
- 15 per cent would rather go over their overdraft by £500
- 11 per cent would rather a friend lost their job
- 7 per cent would rather be dumped by their partner
Dr Nick Levell, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, said:
“We launched the Acne Support website because there are so many people with acne out there who will never see a dermatologist, but who find many aspects of their lives are harder owing to this condition. We hope that this will help them.
“What we wanted to illustrate with this survey, is that for many people this is not a trivial condition, and that they need and deserve impartial, expert advice on how to manage their acne.
“Although it may be surprising to some people, for those with experience of severe acne, being acne-free can be more important than sports, politics, financial stability, even relationships in some cases. This shouldn’t be viewed as a weakness, or anything of the sort, rather it is an indication of quite how awful an experience it is for many.”
Acne is a very common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules). It usually starts at puberty and varies in severity from a few spots on the face, neck, back and chest, which most adolescents will have at some time, to a more significant problem that may cause scarring and impact on self-confidence.
Acne can develop for the first time in people in their late twenties or even the thirties. It occasionally occurs in young children as blackheads and/or pustules on the cheeks or nose.
What causes acne?
The sebaceous (oil-producing) glands of people who get acne are particularly sensitive to normal blood levels of certain hormones, which are present in both men and women. These cause the glands to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly and clog up the follicles. These two effects result in a build-up of oil, producing blackheads (where a darkened plug of oil and dead skin is visible) and whiteheads.
The acne bacterium (known as Propionibacterium acnes) lives on everyone’s skin, usually causing no problems, but in those prone to acne, the build-up of oil creates an ideal environment in which these bacteria can multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red or pus-filled spots.
Some acne can be caused by medication given for other conditions or by certain contraceptive injections or pills. Some tablets taken by body-builders contain hormones that trigger acne and other problems.
Acne can be associated with hormonal changes. If you develop unusual hair growth or hair loss, irregular periods or other changes to your body, then mention this to your doctor in case it is relevant.
Notes to editors:
* Interestingly this is much lower than rates identified by clinical observations, though this could be to do with issues of self-reporting
** Adult acne refers to acne in people over the age of 25
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2147 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th and 25th May 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Acne Support is brought to you by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to offer you expert, impartial advice on acne. Website: www.acnesupport.org.uk
The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.bad.org.uk