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11-03-2010 | Dermatology | Article

Factors predicting acne in Chinese adolescents clarified


Free abstract

MedWire News: Genetic predisposition, psychologic stress, insomnia, and high calorie consumption, amongst other factors, all significantly predict the onset of acne in Chinese adolescents, say researchers.

The incidence of acne in China has increased considerably in recent years, most likely reflecting changes in living standards and lifestyle over the same period.

As ethnicity, lifestyle, dietary habits, and living conditions are significantly dissimilar in China compared with Western countries and therefore likely to affect incidence of acne differently, Chun Di He (No.1 Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China) and colleagues investigated factors predicting acne in 5696 Chinese undergraduates aged 17 to 25 years.

Data for the study were collected using questionnaires. The team found that 52.74% (n=2920) of the students had acne, of which 51.30% were male and 49.65% were female, a statistically significant difference.

Age of acne onset ranged from 10 to 20 years, and patients with a family history of acne had a significantly earlier age of onset than those without. First- and second-degree relatives of acne patients had an acne prevalence of 22.5% and 7.19%, respectively, which was significantly higher than for control students who did not have acne (n=2776).

The authors also found that adolescent acne was highly heritable in first- and second-degree relatives with rates of 78.47% and 75.05%, respectively.

Following multivariate analysis to determine the most significant risk factors for acne, He and co-workers report that family history was the strongest predictor, increasing risk 4.72 fold.

The next most significant factor was psychologic stress, which increased risk for acne by 56%. This was followed, in order of significance, by having a menstrual disorder, frequent insomnia, eating a high-fat diet, being male, having dysmenorrhea, anxiety, sleeping less than 8 hours per night, having depression, eating fried food, study pressure, eating spicy food, and having oily skin.

Of note, He et al observed that having dry or neutral skin, frequent fruit consumption, and less than 2 hours per day in front of a computer reduced the risk for acne by 58%, 14%, and 11%, respectively.

“Adolescent acne impacts self-esteem and quality of life especially in adolescents, and its aetiology is not yet fully clarified,” write the authors. “This study indicated that there were many factors influencing… adolescent acne, with… acne family history as a risk factor ranking on the top.”

They conclude: “Understanding both risk and preventative factors will allow for strategic planning in acne prevention and management. New techniques of genetic studies combined with epidemiological data may aid further understanding of hereditary pathogenesis of acne.”

The results of this study are published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert