An epidemiological study of acne in female adults: results of a survey conducted in France

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2001 Nov;15(6):541-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-3083.2001.00357.x.


Background: Acne is usually perceived as a disease of teenagers, and most epidemiological studies have focused on adolescents.

Objective: The primary objective was to investigate the prevalence of acne in a representative sample of French females. Information about skin type, life-style factors influencing acne and quality of life were also recorded.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was sent to 4,000 adult women aged 25-40 years, after a validation test by three dermatologists. A definition of acne severity, according to questionnaire answers, was established before the questionnaire was sent out.

Results: A total of 3394 women completed the questionnaire of which 3,305 were useable. The data showed a prevalence of acne in 17% of the population, and physiological acne in 24%. Thus, the total acne prevalence was 41%. Forty-nine per cent of the acne patients had acne sequelae (scars and/or pigmented macules). Forty-one per cent of adult acne patients had not experienced acne during their adolescence. A premenstrual flare and stress was recorded as causing acne in 78% and 50%, respectively. Twenty-two per cent of acne subjects were currently receiving therapy. For most patients, acne did not severely impair their quality of life.

Conclusion: This study shows a prevalence of acne in 41% of women in the general population. A high proportion of these acne cases are late onset acne.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / diagnosis*
  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires