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Teens, Adults Take Dim View of Kids with Acne

In commemoration of National Acne Awareness Month, this startling news: Teens with acne are perceived as losers, at least compared to their clear-skinned peers.


(Courtesy of PR Newswire.com)

In research funded by the acne-med-maker Galderma and sponsored by the American Acne & Rosacea Society, just over 1,000 adults and about the same number of kids ages 13-17 were shown sets of pictures of teens, some clear-skinned and others digitally altered to look like they had acne. Participants in the on-line survey recorded their impressions. Surprise! Both adults and teens viewed the acne-free kids more favorably than the acne-ridden ones.

The survey also asked questions of teens who themselves had acne in an attempt to gauge how big a problem their skin condition is in their lives. Adults also were asked to say how much they figured kids' acne bothered them. While the adults tended to minimize acne's impact, acne-plagued teens reported that their zits made them feel pretty bad indeed. 59 percent said they'd be willing to forego Facebook for a year in exchange for being acne-free forever. And 13 percent of the kids with acne were so truly desperate they said they'd ask their mom or dad to be their date for the prom if they could get rid of their pimples!

Teens and adults alike reported that, when viewing an image of a person with acne, the acne was the first thing they noticed. And here's the most distressing of the findings: Adults were less likely to hire a teen with acne than one without for a summer or after-school job or as a babysitter.

As for this Acne Awareness Month (of which this June is the first annual), I think the survey results suggest we're all plenty aware of acne already. Maybe what we really need is a national Shallow People Making Snap Judgments Based on Appearances Awareness Month.

I have plenty of awful acne stories from my long-ago youth, and I'll bet you do, too. Jump into the comments section and share your acne anecdotes.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  June 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , Teens  
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Comments

Okay, I'll go first! From high school all the way through college, I had such bad acne that it really defined who I was and how I felt about myself. Mine wasn't just zits (though I had way more than my share of those, too) -- I had hard purple cysts that often hurt. I remember trying to scrub them away with a Buf Puf, to no avail. I slathered medication on my face, back and chest, which might have helped a bit, but it stayed terrible until I was in my early 20s. After that, my skin cleared up on its own; I'm so lucky not even to have any scars. But I still remember and am grateful to the friends (and employers) who saw past my acne and appreciated me for deeper reasons.

Posted by: Jennifer LaRue Huget | June 15, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Gawd, I would have given my left one to be acne-free. I day-dreamt every day for years for the time when I would be acne-free. Now at 41, zits are almost like youthful cachet. It's no fun getting old.

Posted by: set_the_controls | June 15, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Scientists at NY University College of Medicine have shown that Niacinamide is superior to antibiotics such as Clindamycin in controlling acne. Use Niapads for controlling acne. Niapads is a one step process providing exfoliation, skin lightening, pore cleansing and prevention of acne. Visit www.niapads.com for details. Free shipping to all US and Canada.

Posted by: evelyn9 | June 15, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I was incredibly lucky through the teen years == clear skin and straight teeth. Saved a lot of money for my parents, but we were poor anyway and they couldn't have paid for any treatments or orthodontia. To this day I equate acne with being dirty. My mother used to say 'can't they just use some soap and water.'

Posted by: Baltimore11 | June 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I had some acne in high school that got much worse when I got into my 20s (I have oily, sensitive skin). I even went to a dermatologist who put me on antibiotics and strong face washes for 30 days at a time, which sort of worked but made it come back worse after the antibiotic was gone. What finally worked for me was giving up soap and moisturizer completely and just scrubbing gently with a washcloth and warm water once or twice a day in the shower. I think all these soap/detergents and chemicals actually mess up the bacterial/pH/oil balance on the skin and make things worse in the long run. It took a couple of months for the damage to heal, but now I am acne-free! I suggest teenagers and adults give this a try for a few months - it's free and it certainly can't make things any worse.

Posted by: amber3 | June 18, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The hardest thing I found was getting a correct diagnosis, and then a correct treatment. I had mild to moderate acne, but enough to bother me. I first sought treatment in college, and over the course of the next ten years, I saw 5 different dermatologists - all who prescribed various, ineffective therapies - before I found one who identified it as acne rosacea. Only then did the treatment - no antibiotics required! - work effectively. If proper diagnosis is so hard, then no wonder it remains such a problem. in addition, PP has caught on to something - 'medicated' treatments are not for everyone, and often make acne worse.

Posted by: fat_kitty | June 18, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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