Background: Acne is typically regarded as an adolescent disease. A significant body of literature suggests a post-adolescent or adult form of acne. Female patients are known to experience perimenstrual acne flares, the exact prevalence of which is unknown.
Objective: To establish a pattern of perimenstrual acne flare in adult women in order to better characterize the disorder.
Methods: Subjects aged 18 and over were recruited during previously scheduled visits with their dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. An anonymous survey was distributed to women who reported their first menses at least six months earlier and had a complaint of acne within the last 30 days. Women <18 years of age and postmenopausal women were excluded from the study population.
Results: Participants included women 18- to 29-years old (67%) and women 30- to 49-years old (33%). The ethnicity of respondents was Caucasian (50%), African American (20%), Latino (19%), Asian (5%), and Other (6%). The majority of participants with perimenstrual acne reported the onset of acne between the ages of 12 and 18 years. Sixty-five percent of participants reported that their acne symptoms were worse with their menses. Of those who reported perimenstrual acne symptoms, 56 percent reported worsening symptoms in the week preceding their menses, 17 percent reported worsening symptoms during their menses, three percent reported worsening symptoms after their menses, and 24 percent reported worsening symptoms throughout their cycle. Thirty-five percent of patients with perimenstrual acne reported oral contraceptive pill use.
Conclusion: A significant number of adult women have perimenstrual acne symptoms. This study has proven to be useful in characterizing perimenstrual acne flare and is one of the first qualitative documentations of the presence and degree of this disorder.