RESEARCH REPORT Perceptions of acne vulgaris in final year medical student written examination answers

Authors


  • Jack Green, FRACGP. Rodney D Sinclair, FACD.

Dr Rodney D Sinclair, Department of Medicine (Dermatology), The University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia. Email: sinclair@svhm.org.au

SUMMARY

Misconceptions exist in the community regarding factors that exacerbate acne vulgaris. In particular stress, diet, lifestyle and personal hygiene are often erroneously claimed to be important factors. In order to investigate whether these common misconceptions persist in medical graduates, we analysed the answers of 215 sixth year medical students, who all subsequently graduated from The University of Melbourne, to a short-answer question on acne management and exacerbating factors in one of their final year examination papers. With respect to exacerbating factors, 67% of students identified stress, 10% identified lifestyle factors (smoking and alcohol consumption), and 25% claimed poor facial hygiene exacerbated acne. Diet was stated to be an important factor by 41% of students, of whom 12% specifically mentioned chocolate. Persistence of these misconceptions among medical graduates is likely to perpetuate misinformation in the community.

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