Using a questionnaire survey, the prevalence and severity of acne were assessed in a randomized sample of 522 persons (aged 15-25 years) out of 5,522 telephone interviews in Hong Kong. The prevalence of self-reported acne was 91.3%. At the time of interview, 52.2% had acne. More acne scars and pigmentation were present (52.6%) than in a Western population; 26.6% were disturbed psychologically by acne and 82.9% by its physical appearance. Only 2.4% had sought the advice of a doctor for managing acne, while 41.5% had tried some form of medical treatment. Topical treatment comprised 94.7% of medications used for acne. The results show that acne and its complications are common problems. The treatment of acne scars and pigmentation is difficult and complicated by Asian skin phototypes. The findings suggest the need for refined educational programmes to ensure that adolescents know what effective treatments are available so that complications can be reduced.