The prevalence of common skin conditions in Australian school students: 3. Acne vulgaris

Monique Femia Kilkenny, Kate Merlin, Anne Plunkett, Robin Marks

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The prevalence, severity and disability related to facial acne (comprising acne on the head and neck)was assessed in a randomized sample of 2491 students (aged 4?18 years) from schools throughoutthe State of Victoria in Australia. Students were diagnosed clinically by a dermatologist ordermatology registrar. The overall prevalence (including 4?7 year olds) was 36?1 (95 confidenceintervals, CI 24?7?47?5), ranging from 27?7 (95 CI 20?6?34?8) in 10?12 year olds to 93?3 (95 CI 89?6?96?9) in 16?18 year olds. It was less prevalent among boys aged 10?12 years thangirls of the same age; however, between the ages of 16 and 18 years, boys were more likely than girlsto have acne. Moderate to severe acne was present in 17 of students (24 boys, 11 girls).Comedones, papules and pustules were the most common manifestations of acne, with one in fourstudents aged 16?18 years having acne scars. Twelve per cent of students reported a high AcneDisability Index score. This tended to correlate with clinical severity, although there was someindividual variation in perception of disability. Seventy per cent of those found to have acne onexamination had indicated in the questionnaire that they had acne. Of those, 65 had soughttreatment, a substantial proportion of which (varying with who gave the advice) was classified asbeing likely to have no beneficial effect. This is the first population-based prevalence study onclinically confirmed acne published from Australia. The results show that acne is a common problem.They suggest the need for education programmes in schools to ensure that adolescents understandtheir disease, and know what treatments are available and from whom they should seek advice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840 - 845
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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