Acne and Sex discrimination

Acne and Sex discrimination.

Acne and Sex discrimination

There is terrible sexism about acne. Let’s start with a little biology. Every human being on the planet has sebaceous glands in their skin. It’s a part of the natural process which helps keep skin supple, flexible and waterproof. For reason not entirely clear, but probably connected with genetics and hormone levels, these glands can be triggered into producing too much oil. If this happens, the oil pools in the pores and traps the dead cells that would otherwise fall from the skin. Unfortunately, this is the perfect breeding ground for many of the different bacteria growing naturally on everyone’s skin. One of these bacteria causes infections and spots. So acne should affect people equally and regardless of gender.

During the teen years, the balance between the sexes is reasonably even, but once we include the full lifespan, it affects more women than men. This unfairness would not matter except for one thing. The majority of cultures around the world have reached an agreement on what “beauty” looks like. So, when you see images of people in the mass media, faces are flawless. Thanks to photoshop and other similar wonders of technology, every blemish or hint of a spot can be airbrushed away, leaving a perfectly smooth, uniform area of skin.

When the reality of people does not match the images of perfection, this causes anxiety and despair. People with any kind of facial or obvious blemish are singled out for adverse comment. The cause is put down to poor lifestyle choices and practices. People have acne because they do not wash or eat the wrong food. They are imperfect and ugly. This is wonderful news for manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. What cannot be cured with a drug (e.g. Accutane), can be covered up with a heavy foundation powder. In more extreme cases, there is always cosmetic surgery, where faces and bodies can be redesigned to match these impossible images of beauty.


The world focuses on the differences from the ideal. One side of the line is successful. The other never rises above the pack. You only have to look at women in the public eye to see the pressure on them to stay young and beautiful, no matter what it costs. When it comes to acne, the hormone balance in women is affected during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Using oral contraceptives can stabilize the hormone levels but, when it comes to planning a family, there is literally nothing that can be done. The one drug that more or less absolutely guarantees an end to acne cannot be taken during pregnancy. Accutane causes damage to unborn children.

Life is never fair but it tends to be more unfair on women. They are expected to conform to these unachievable standards of beauty and we then judge them harshly when they fail. Worse, the one drug that can and does represent an effective treatment for acne can be taken safely by almost every boy and the man on the planet, but not by women who may conceive. How can this not be the worst case of sex discrimination of all time? For years, the manufacturers have only helped males cure acne. Women can only use this drug if they make it impossible to conceive while taking it. Women who want a family must endure acne.
Acne and Sex discrimination Acne and Sex discrimination Reviewed by Astronomy on April 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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