Beliefs and perceptions of patients with acne

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001 Mar;44(3):439-45. doi: 10.1067/mjd.2001.111340.


Background: There is a paucity of information on the knowledge and understanding of patients with acne about their condition.

Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate the knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions of acne patients regarding their understanding of acne pathogenesis, sources of information, treatment options, and expectations.

Methods: Patients referred to a community-based dermatologist for management of acne vulgaris completed a self-administered questionnaire. Responses were correlated with demographic and clinical information.

Results: Seventy-four percent of patients waited more than 1 year before seeking medical attention for acne. Nonprescription products used most frequently were cleansers, acne pads, and lotions. Acne was most often believed to be caused by hormonal and genetic factors, although diet, poor skin hygiene, and infection were also implicated. Information on acne was obtained primarily from family physicians, mass media, friends, and family, but was largely believed to be inadequate. Acne was believed to be curable by 49% of patients with an anticipated treatment duration of less than 6 months. Male patients and those with severe acne preferred systemic therapy compared with female patients and those with lesser grades of acne.

Conclusion: There is a need for accessible, accurate, community-based education on the natural history of acne, pathogenesis, risk of sequelae, the effectiveness and expected duration of treatment, and the importance of prompt medical attention.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / psychology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Risk Factors