Background Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease affecting more than 85% of adolescents and often continuing into adulthood. Population-based studies to assess the patterns and severity of acne have not been achieved.
Objectives The aim of this study was to assess the most common patterns of facial and trunk acne in young (18-year-old) men in a representative sample of male adolescents in a city in southern Brazil and to investigate the severity of inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions in these individuals.
Methods In Brazil, military service is compulsory for all males. Every adolescent male must report to his military service headquarters to submit to a medical screening examination. The study included 2201 adolescents, each of whom underwent a skin examination conducted by a dermatologist to identify and quantify all non-inflammatory (comedones) and inflammatory (papules, pustules, and nodules) lesions.
Results Non-inflammatory lesions (comedones) were observed on 1487 individuals, and inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) were noted on 1497 individuals. The most common patterns of facial acne were the full-face, bilateral malar and frontal mentonian distributions.
Conclusions This is the first population-based study to evaluate patterns of acne. Facial involvement was very prevalent, and the frontal region was found to dominate patterns of distribution of acne vulgaris. Comedonian acne of the face was much more intense and affected the entire face. In inflammatory facial acne, the majority of the study subjects exhibited up to five lesions in the region under study.