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Abstract

Background

Acne is one of the most common chronic inflammatory dermatological diseases among adolescents.

Objectives

We sought to estimate the prevalence of acne among schoolchildren and its association with puberty, body mass index (BMI), acne history of parents, nutritional habits, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1277 pupils aged 7–19 years. Children were interviewed with self-administered questionnaires, and were subsequently examined by one specially trained dermatologist. To evaluate the onset of puberty, girls provided details about their menarche and boys – about their facial hair growth.

Results

The overall response rate of the study was 51.4%. The prevalence of acne among respondents was 82.9%, and was strongly age-dependent with highest rates in the age groups of 13–15 and 16–19 years. The prevalence of pre-pubertal acne among participating girls and boys was 69.9% and 73.6% respectively. The main risk factors of acne were facial hair growth in boys (OR = 4.9), menarche in girls (OR = 3.1), overweight/obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 at 18 years of age) (OR = 2.6), acne history from both parents (OR = 2.6) and from mother alone (OR = 2.1). We did not find any associations between acne and nutritional habits, smoking or alcohol consumption. The self-reported prevalence of acne among children who refused to take part in the study was lower than that among participants of the study.

Conclusions

The overall prevalence of acne among schoolchildren is high and age-dependent. The onset of puberty, overweight/obesity and history of acne from both parents are the top risk factors for acne.