Author(s): Smithard A, Glazebrook C, Williams HC
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Acne vulgaris is a distressing condition that affects the majority of adolescents, but its impact on mental health in this age group is poorly understood. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of acne, knowledge about acne and rates of help-seeking behaviour in English teenagers. It was hypothesized that presence of acne would be associated with higher rates of emotional and behavioural difficulties. METHODS: Three hundred and seventeen pupils (80\% response rate) aged 14-16 years participated from a comprehensive school in Nottingham. An age-appropriate, validated measure of emotional well-being, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and an Acne Management Questionnaire were used to assess participants' psychological health, level of acne knowledge and help-seeking behaviour. Acne severity was by graded by visual facial examination using an adaptation of the Leeds Acne Grading Technique. RESULTS: There was a prevalence of acne in 50\% of the study sample, with 11\% of participants having moderate to severe acne (> 20 inflammatory lesions). Participants with definite acne (12+ lesions) (P < 0.01) and girls (P < 0.05) had higher levels of emotional and behavioural difficulties. Participants with acne were nearly twice as likely as those without acne to score in the abnormal/borderline range of the SDQ (32\% vs. 20\%; odds ratio 1.86, 95\% confidence interval 1.03-3.34). Knowledge about the causes of acne was low (mean 45\%), and was unrelated to acne status. Fewer than a third of participants with definite acne had sought help from a doctor. CONCLUSIONS: Acne is a common disorder in English adolescents and appears to have a considerable impact on emotional health in this age group. Low levels of acne knowledge and poor acne management are concerns that could be amenable to a school-based education programme.
This article was published in Br J Dermatol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research