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17-03-2011 | Article

Late-onset acne differs clinically from early-onset acne


Free abstract

MedWire News: Researchers have found that late-onset acne has different clinical characteristics to that of early-onset acne.

The findings, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, suggest that different treatment approaches may be needed for the two types.

S Youn and colleagues, from Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea, assessed the acne lesions of 89 women who ranged in age from 10 to 45 years.

They found that acne that developed after the age of 21 years was clinically different to the acne that developed before the age of 21 years.

Specifically, women with late-onset acne had fewer spots, or lesions, in total compared with women with early-onset acne. Also, blackheads and acne lesions in the women with late-onset acne were more often located around the chin and cheeks (U-zone) rather than on the nose and forehead (T-zone) as in early-onset acne.

"These findings… support the concept that clinical differences in acne based on age appear to be mainly resulting from age of onset and not from the progression of the acne," say the researchers.

They suggest that possible factors for the differences in clinical characteristics between late- and early-onset acne include an increase in pore diameter with age, smoking, use of cosmetics, genetic predisposition, and stress.

"The tendency for an increased follicular pore diameter would explain the clinical findings of fewer [blackheads] in the late-onset acne group," the researchers explain. "A larger pore would drain the sebum more easily and be associated with a reduced number of [blackheads] in the late-onset acne group."

The team concludes that due to the higher proportion of blackheads, patients with early-onset acne may benefit from treatment with topical retinoids or chemical peeling, whereas oral antibiotics and isotretinoin may be more suited to patients with late-onset acne.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lucy Piper