Acne in the adult female often presents as a chronic condition that can have a considerable negative psychological, social and emotional impact on the affected individual. Estimated prevalence rates of adult female acne vary widely according to study type. Case reports and clinical examinations estimate the prevalence of clinical acne at 10-12%, while survey estimates of physiological disease states are as high as 54%. Two subtypes of adult female acne may be defined according to time of onset: ‘persistent' and ‘late-onset', accounting for approximately 80 and 20% of cases, respectively. Postadolescent acne is generally mild-to-moderate in severity and presents with more inflammatory lesions and fewer comedones compared to adolescent acne. Furthermore, the impact of acne on the quality of life is often greater in adult females than in younger individuals. Despite these important differences, the key principles of acne treatment in the adult female do not differ significantly from those of other age groups. However, specific characteristics relating to the adult female should be considered when selecting a treatment regimen.

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