Children start to worry about their appearance at the age of 12, a study has found.

Almost 90 per cent admit to worrying about their appearance for an hour and 34 minutes each day with those worries starting before they even reach the age of 13.

One in five teens even admitted they have pretended to be sick to get out of going to school or work due to their lack of confidence about their appearance.

And it doesn’t end as you grow up with 86 per cent of adults admitting they still spend an hour and 13 minutes of each day fretting about how they look.

But while teens worry most about spots, adults are most likely to be concerned about their weight.

Bad hair, overall body shape and the appearance of your stomach are also common worries for adults and teens alike.

It also emerged 69 per cent of adults have, or do, suffer from bad skin, including acne, eczema and spots.

And 91 per cent of those say they have been affected by breakouts or acne as a grown-up, despite leaving their teenage years behind them,

A spokesperson for skincare brand Proactiv+, which commissioned the research, said: “Almost everyone has concerns about their appearance at one time or another, but it’s staggering to see how young these concerns start.

“And it appears that this is a problem which doesn’t go away with age – the worries we have just change slightly instead.

“Teenagers have a lot to adjust to with puberty, a testing time at school as they approach exams and dealing with peer pressure, so the spot breakouts and acne which can really affect their confidence.

“But for many these worries will also continue into adulthood leaving people really struggling with their self-esteem – especially as spots and acne are something most people only associate with the teenage years.”

The study of 1,000 adults and 1,000 teenagers through OnePoll, found social media is harming people’s confidence with 71 per cent of teenagers and 53 per cent of adults admitting sites such as Facebook and Instagram make them more worried about how they look.

Thirty-two per cent of teens have edited pictures on social media to alleviate their worries while 37 per cent have even avoided being in photos altogether.

Adults’ day-to-day lives are also affected by their appearance worries with 30 per cent saying they have made an excuse to get out of socialising with friends because of how they felt about their appearance.

Others have worn excessive make up (17 per cent), wore baggy or oversized clothes (31 per cent) or even cancelled a date (four per cent).

And 42 per cent of adults have been so affected by a skin problem or spot breakout they have sought advice, with 79 per cent of those speaking to their doctor.

A spokesman for Proactiv+ added: “We know that spot breakouts and acne can have a really effect on your confidence and how you feel about your appearance, whatever your age.

“Proactiv+ uses a 3-step system to leave you with beautiful and radiant looking skin allowing you to put your worries about your appearance behind you.”


  1. Spots
  2. Bad/unruly hair
  3. Being overweight
  4. Overall body shape
  5. Stomach
  6. Blackheads
  7. Eyebrows
  8. Unwanted body hair
  9. Acne
  10. Dry skin


  1. Being overweight
  2. Stomach
  3. Bad/unruly hair
  4. Overall body shape
  5. Spots
  6. Dry skin
  7. Unwanted body hair
  8. Blackheads
  9. Uneven skin tone (face)
  10. Legs
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