When you think about acne, do you think about spotty teenagers with oily skin and greasy hair? Well you’d be right, because acne affects around 85% of teenagers, affecting more boys than girls. This is because acne is caused by the over-activity of the sebaceous glands that secrete oil onto the skin during puberty. During adolescence there is a sharp increase in the production of androgens in the body which stimulate the sebaceous glands. This is why acne affects more teenagers than adults.So why are adult acne treatments different from teenage acne treatments? For starters, adult acne is slightly different from teenage acne. Whilst teenagers suffer with a range of blackheads, whiteheads, papules (red bumps), pustules (pus filled bumps) and cysts (lumps under the surface of the skin), adult acne tends to be characterized by more papules and cysts. Whilst teenage acne is mostly caused by the over-production of sebum, in adults there are different causes such as hormonal fluctuations, stress, coming off birth control pills and reactions to cosmetics. For these reasons, adult acne affects more women than men. It’s not unusual for a woman to get spotty around the time of their periods, during pregnancy and during menopause. Another reason for acne in adult women may be polycystic ovary syndrome.Getting acne at any age can cause problems emotionally. No one wants to look in the mirror and see a spotty face looking back at them. For teenagers, especially, it is a vulnerable time when they are very concerned with their looks and with how other people see them. Having acne can cause embarrassment and affect self-confidence and self-esteem. This does not mean that adults have no problem with spots, but that they are better able to deal with them. They probably laugh it off and say that they are turning into teenagers!So what are the main differences between adult acne treatments and teenage acne treatments?1. Over-the-counter medication to treat teenage acne is usually the same as treating adult acne. However, with prescription-only medication, a teenager will be probably prescribed a lower dosage based on his or her body weight than for an adult.2. Teenage skin is usually oily and acne products marketed towards teens contain ingredients that cause the skin to produce less oil. Unless your skin is very oily, adults should stay away from teen marketed products as these can be too drying. You should look for brands that are specific to the adult market.3. Oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed to treat adult acne in women to help balance the hormonal fluctuations that cause acne around menstruation. Also some women are advised to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), especially post-menopausal women who are also suffering from other symptoms.Whether you are a teenager or adult with acne, the treatment strategies are still the same: to use prescription or over-the-counter medication as prescribed or advised by your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist.