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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2017 Feb;18(3):263-273. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2017.1282460. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Chemical pharmacotherapy options for managing adult acne.

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a Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology , Wake Forest School of Medicine , Winston-Salem , NC , USA.
b Department of Pathology , Wake Forest School of Medicine , Winston-Salem , NC , USA.
c Department of Public Health Sciences , Wake Forest School of Medicine , Winston-Salem , NC , USA.


The incidence of adult acne is increasing worldwide. Despite clinical overlap with conventional acne, it has distinct features. Areas covered: A literature search of English-language review articles, randomized control studies and retrospective studies conducted over the past 30 years was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar. Search terms included acne, adult, topical medication, oral medication and skin of color. We highlight important clinical features and treatment modalities pertinent to the evaluation and management of adult acne. Given the relative dearth of literature detailing treatment options specific to adult acne, we offer expert opinion regarding management of the condition especially in special populations such as skin of color and pregnancy. Expert Opinion: It is unclear whether adult acne represents a distinct entity or a continuum of adolescent disease. Providers may opt to use topical medication as first-line, but should have a low threshold for switching to systemic therapy given the magnitude of psychosocial and emotional burden associated with the condition.


Acne vulgaris; adult-onset; general dermatology; late-onset; pharmacotherapy; treatment

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