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Did people in different periods of history have acne?


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#1 guitarman43

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 06:46 PM

I've always wondered if people before the 20th century or even earlier got acne, and if not what are we doing to cause it?

#2 Smokeyjay

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 08:25 PM

I recall reading in a history book that the Greeks and Romans had steam baths, and one of the reasons was to combat acne.

I recall someone posting a newspaper clipping of an acne treatment ad from the 17th century.

But why do we seem to have lots of acne in the 20th century?

Honestly, I don't think we do. Just the advent of the internet allows us acne people to congregate together. I walk outside, and I hardly see anyone with acne.

Another reason could be maybe that were too germophobic nowadays. Thats one of the theories of the increase of allergies...because we don't allow kids to get dirty and use antibiotics all the time...we don't allow our immune system some exercise.

Or it could be more chemicals in foods.

#3 JR86

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 11:06 PM

yes, they did. even the ancient greeks and egyptians had acne. i came across a news paper advertisement from the 1800s for some magical acne elixir, i wish i had saved it because i can't find it now.

#4 iwillkillacne

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 09:33 AM

Acne was present in Ancient China too.

However, I do think that in modern times, acne has become WAY more common (weren't there surveys done asking people if they suffered from acne and "yes" was significantly lower than it is now?)

I'm not claiming that acne is caused by a modern lifestyle (I've seen and read the many arguments of a holistic enthusiast against an accutane enthusiast...), but in answer to your question, acne was present in the past too.

#5 YourCaptain

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 04:48 PM

What about the claim then that acne does not exist in developing countries? Many theories out there claim that it is our industrialized culture which brought it on. It is definitely factual that developing countries do not suffer from acne as much as we do.

#6 Mike2006

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:30 PM

QUOTE(YourCaptain @ Nov 1 2007, 04:48 PM) View Post
What about the claim then that acne does not exist in developing countries? Many theories out there claim that it is our industrialized culture which brought it on. It is definitely factual that developing countries do not suffer from acne as much as we do.


Most modern developing countries are in sunny areas where acne is far less common. Do you have a source for that?


And ancient Greece and Rome was hardly the most factory clogged, caffine drinking society ever.
Just thinking about it it may be something to do with evolution. We all evolved from a common african ancestor so mabye the less sunny, less dusty, less whatever climates that we live know still cause minor problems with our skin which hasnt' fully adapted... meh mabye not. Although we are all still lactose intolerant to a degree and that is well documented.

#7 silverlake

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:13 AM

I'm of Greek origin. If only I could meet my ancient Greek ancestor culprit who passed me on the acne gene... grrr...

Btw, the common African ancestor story is just a theory. In the university where I work, the experts who work on that theory still have many doubts about our true origin.
Maybe we came from outer space and the acne came with us? LOL!!

#8 Leo21k

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:08 PM

But did adult acne exist before the 20th century?

#9 xcorex

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 02:30 AM

It's a common old myth that masturbation and sex caused acne, used to keep kids and teens from doing it, so back then, i'd say acne existed and was definitely something feared and looked down upon like it still is.

#10 bizzyskin

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 04:30 PM

That's interesting. I always assumed people had less acne in the past, along with lower cholesterol, blood pressure, fewer people were overweight, etc. etc.

#11 hip-hop is life

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 06:06 PM

QUOTE (bizzyskin @ Feb 2 2008, 05:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's interesting. I always assumed people had less acne in the past, along with lower cholesterol, blood pressure, fewer people were overweight, etc. etc.



to be honest i think the usa is where acne is most common aswell as obesity..for one we eat very unhealthy here with all are fastfood restaurants and stuff...but when i went to argentina this summer to go visit family i saw NO ONE with acne and BARELY any people with weight problems..it was so awkward for me to be there with acne cause no one else had it, it was amazing..

#12 rian202003

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 04:57 AM

Must be all the chemicals and crap that passes our lips and lungs everyday that has made it more prevalent.

#13 jay6

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 02:36 PM

It's the way we live in today's world. Gas, oil, chemicals, air being as thick as tar etc

#14 rian202003

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 03:27 PM

Remember the old period films?

where you see ladies and gents with little black dots on their faces,
they were to cover up acne scars and blemishes!

i only heard about that the other day on a history program,

so i guess cavemen probably had acne too lol.

#15 como

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:43 AM

another thing you have to remember is that we're all obsessed with appearances, and if you surveyed someone they'd say they had terrible skin.

i have literally 20 times more acne than i used to, but i've ALWAYS complained about having bad skin. Now that i have it bad, my friends are like "Dude you used to have like perfect skin, what the hell happened?"

it's all relative.

#16 cysticacneispain

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:54 AM

My guess is more dairy products in our diet (with hormones, incompatible enzymes, etc) could intensify the hormones that we already have.