Background Acne vulgaris is a common disease among adolescents and known to have adverse effects on psychological status.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted on 600 participants by means of a questionnaire designed for this study in high school students. In addition, an objective evaluation of acne in participants was undertaken. The questionnaire consisted of questions about acne, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES).
Results Five hundred and sixty-three questionnaires out of 600 were answered and 550 adolescents who gave permission for examination were evaluated. The study population consisted of 303 girls and 260 boys between the ages 13 and 19, and the mean age was 15.24 ± 1.05 years. Acne prevalence was 63.6% with 29.2% non-inflammatory and 34.4% inflammatory acne. It was more prevalent and severe in boys than in girls. Not the objective but the subjective severity of acne and opinion that one could benefit from acne treatment was found to be related to anxiety, depression and self-esteem. Factors implicated among causes of acne were food, bad skin hygiene and hormones in decreasing frequency. Forty-eight per cent of adolescents expect a maximum duration of 4 weeks for treatment.
Conclusion Despite the high prevalence of acne, there is still much deficiency of knowledge and wrong beliefs about acne. This indicates that there is an urgent need for education about etiopathogenesis, potential complications and importance of effective treatment for acne. Effective treatment may make significant contributions for the mental health of adolescent and as well as adult populations.