Changing Age of Acne Vulgaris Visits: Another Sign of Earlier Puberty?


Address correspondence to Tushar S. Dabade, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, or e-mail:


Abstract:  The objective of the current study was to assess changes in the onset of pubertal maturation by determining whether acne is occurring at an earlier age. We assessed the age at which acne is occurring by assessing trends in the age of people seeking medical attention for acne. The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database was used to analyze physician visits for acne vulgaris in children aged 6 to 18 from 1979 to 2007. The data were used to assess trends in the mean age of children with acne and to compare these trends according to race and sex. Regression analysis revealed a significant decrease in the mean age of children seeking treatment for acne over this 28-year period (p < 0.001). There was no significant change in the mean age of black children seeking treatment for acne. Black girls had the lowest mean age whereas white boys had the highest mean age. There has been a decrease in the average age of children seeking treatment for acne that may be indicative of earlier acne onset. This finding provides supporting evidence of the increasingly earlier onset of puberty in girls.