As teenagers look forward to holiday activities, a new survey of teens (defined as ages 15-19 who are high school juniors/seniors or college freshmen/sophomores attending a school in the US) reveals that acne has a negative impact on their body image and self-esteem, and that translates into anxiety over using social media, mainly the online posting of photos, videos and “selfies.”1

The national online survey was commissioned by Cutanea Life Sciences, Inc. (CLS), a U.S. based specialty pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology, and was conducted this past summer by Harris Poll among 1,010 teenagers, ages 15-19.

The survey found that 71% of participants who’ve had acne feel that acne has a negative effect on their body image and attractiveness, while 67% say it has a negative effect on their self-esteem. The poll results further revealed that 72% of teens who use social media and have had acne agree most people their age are self-conscious about their acne on social media, and 68% of teens believe that most of their peers edit or alter their photos on social media if they have acne to hide it. Moreover, 58% of teens who’ve had acne have offered to take a photo to get out of being in the picture.1

Other key findings include the following:

Impact of Acne on Social Media 

  • Half of teens who are using social media (51%) say social media makes having acne harder 1
  • 45% of teens who use social media and have experienced acne say that at times, they are embarrassed to post photos of themselves on social media because of their acne 1
  • Half of teens who use social media and have experienced acne (50%) say they have taken at least one of the following actions on social media to avoid displaying their acne:
    • Chose not to include a photo on social media because I had acne
    • Deleted or untagged a photo of myself where I had acne
    • Asked someone else to take down a photo of me where I had acne
    • Altered, edited, retouched, or cropped a photo to try and hide my acne
    • Avoided having my picture taken with someone who had clearer skin
    • Stayed off of social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, etc.) so I wouldn’t have to post/see photos of myself 1
  • About 1 in 3 teens who use social media and have experienced acne say:
    • Social media increased their anxiety about their own acne (34%)
    • Their acne makes them hate the way they look on social media (33%)
    • Social media makes dealing with acne in real life harder for me (29%) 1

Psychosocial Impact of Acne

  • More than one out of three (37%) teens with self-described moderate or severe acne say their primary concern was their complexion when they returned to school this fall
  • 86% of teens say acne makes their peers less confident in going about their lives1
  • 85% agree most people their age worry about acne 1
  • 62% of teens who have had acne are very or somewhat concerned about their acne 1
  • 51% of teens who have had acne feel unattractive because of their acne1
  • More than 2 in 5 teens (44%) who’ve had acne have avoided having their photo taken because of acne1
  • 34% of teens with acne avoid video chatting1

“As school counselors, we see every day the profound impact that acne can have on teenagers’ self-image, confidence, acceptance and social relationships, at an already challenging time in their lives,” said Anne LP Flenner, Ed.S. Professional School Counselor and Florida Counseling Association Past-President. “One of my takeaways from the Harris Poll was that the social isolation sought by many teens who are anxious about their acne is now transitioning into a reluctance to engage in the most popular form of peer communication among teens today, social media, a concerning insight. We would all like our teens to spend less time on social media, but not because they’re embarrassed by their appearance.”

Most teens with acne (61%) stated that they were doing everything they can to manage their acne, however one in three teens with acne (35%) admit to having difficulty managing the condition. When asked about an effective treatment, the majority felt it was at least very important to use a therapy that worked quickly to clear up acne (83%), is affordable (80%), easy to use (78%), and convenient (72%).1

“The teens that I interact with as a school counselor are very active, on the go and very into technology, so it’s alarming to see them withdraw from social media because of acne,” said Flenner. “Parents of teens who are struggling with acne should seek the medical care of a dermatologist, who may prescribe medications to successfully manage this condition.”

About Acne

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting up to 50 million Americans annually, and 85 percent of people ages 12 to 24 will experience at least mild acne. It is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder characterized by blackheads, whiteheads and pimples that occurs on the face, neck, shoulders, upper arms, chest and back. Acne has been shown to cause significant psychological problems, including poor self-image, depression and anxiety.2

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Cutanea Life Sciences, the makers of Aktipak™ (erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide), Gel, 3%/5%,3 within the United States between July 13 and 31, 2017 among 1,010 US teens aged 15-19 who are juniors or seniors in high school or freshman or sophomores in college and who attend school in the US.   Figures for age within gender, race/ethnicity, and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.  Teens 15-17 were also weighted by school location, parents’ highest level of education, and internet usage; teens 18-19 years old were also weighted by education.  Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for 18-19 year old teen respondents’ propensity to be online.1

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.1

The vast majority of teens surveyed (86%) say they’ve had acne. Of teens who have had acne, 84% say they experience it more often than once a month, with over a quarter (26%) saying they experience it daily. While only 2% of teens who have had acne would describe their case as severe (deep, inflamed, painful blemishes), more than 2 in 5 teens (42%) would describe their acne as moderate (noticeable breakouts) and around half of teens (53%) describe it as mild (some bumps and blackheads).1

About Aktipak

Aktipak (erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide) Gel, 3%/5%, is a combination therapy indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris, available through dermatologists’ offices. Aktipak is contraindicated in individuals who have shown hypersensitivity to any of its components.3

Aktipak is a portable, freshly mixed, patient-blended therapy that offers a flexible and convenient treatment option for active, “on-the-go” acne patients. The product comes in pocket-sized, single-dose, dual-chamber pouches (60 to a carton), each of which contain the antibiotic erythromycin and the antibacterial benzoyl peroxide in separate chambers. The patient opens the pouch and blends the gel contents immediately prior to use, enabling simple, convenient application with no mixing needed in the pharmacy. Aktipak has an 18-month shelf life from the date of manufacture, and no refrigeration is required. The 1.5″ x 2.5″ pouches tuck easily and discreetly into purses, gym bags and backpacks.3 

In July 2017 CLS launched “Facing Forward™,” a free mobile application for people prescribed Aktipak. The app is designed to help teenagers and young adults use the acne medication as directed and dosed.3

Indications and Usage

Aktipak (erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide) Gel, 3%/5% is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris.3

Important Safety Information

Contraindications: Aktipak is contraindicated in those individuals who have shown hypersensitivity to any of its components.3

Precautions: For topical use only; not for ophthalmic use. Concomitant topical acne therapy should be used with caution because a possible cumulative irritancy effect may occur, especially with the use of peeling, desquamating or abrasive agents. If severe irritation develops, discontinue use and institute appropriate therapy. The use of antibiotic agents may be associated with the overgrowth of non-susceptible organisms. If this occurs, discontinue use and take appropriate measures. Avoid contact with eyes and all mucous membranes.3

Pregnancy: It is not known whether Aktipak can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Aktipakshould be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed. It is not known whether the ingredients of Aktipak are excreted in human milk. Therefore, caution should be exercised when erythromycin is administered to a nursing woman.3

Pediatric Use: The safety and effectiveness of Aktipak in pediatric patients below 12 years of age have not been established.3

Adverse Reactions: The most frequently reported adverse events reported in clinical trials include: dry skin, application site reaction, blepharitis, pruritus, and photosensitivity.3



About Cutanea Life Sciences 

Cutanea Life Sciences, Inc., headquartered in Wayne, PA, is a specialty pharmaceutical company whose mission is to develop innovative technologies, optimizing intellectual property and therapeutic applications culminating in market leading products to treat diseases and disorders of the skin and related tissue. CLS seeks to improve human health and appearance, and create value for patients and medical professionals by satisfying underserved medical needs. CLS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Osaka-based Maruho Co., Ltd., a leading dermatology company in Japan that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015.

CLS is pursuing therapies for the treatment of acne, rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and various forms of warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). It also has a novel soft tissue augmentation agent in early development. CLS intends to direct these products through the required regulatory pathway and, upon FDA clearance, commercialize them directly through a CLS sales force and commercial infrastructure that will focus primarily on dermatology medical practices.

For more information, visit and follow CLS on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “proposed,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to numerous important factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from CLS’s current expectations.  CLS’s expectations and, therefore, any forward-looking statements in this press release could be affected by risks and uncertainties relating to a number of factors, including the following: the success, cost and timing of CLS’s product development activities, studies and clinical trials; the success of competing products that are or become available; CLS’s ability to commercialize its product candidates; the size and growth potential of the markets for CLS’s product candidates, and CLS’s ability to service those markets; CLS’s ability to develop sales and marketing capabilities, whether alone or with potential future collaborators; the rate and degree of market acceptance of CLS’s product candidates; and CLS’s expectations regarding its ability to obtain and adequately maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for its product candidates.  Any forward-looking statements that CLS makes in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. CLS assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.