Community-based study of acne vulgaris in adolescents in Singapore

Br J Dermatol. 2007 Sep;157(3):547-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2007.08087.x. Epub 2007 Jul 26.


Background: There are few studies on the prevalence of acne vulgaris among Asian teenagers.

Objectives: To determine the epidemiology of acne in teenagers in Singapore.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study in 1045 adolescents aged 13-19 years.

Results: Of these respondents, 88% identified themselves as having acne. Eight hundred and six of these respondents were examined by a dermatologist, and 51.4% were classified as having mild acne, 40% moderate acne and 8.6% severe acne. Isolation of Propionibacterium acnes was attempted in 262 subjects. Cultures were positive in 174 subjects, giving an isolation rate of 66.4%. Antibiotic-resistant strains of P. acnes were detected in 26 isolates (14.9%). Eleven of these 26 subjects (42%) had previously been treated or were presently on antibiotic treatment for acne, but the other 58% of students who had antibiotic-resistant strains of P. acnes did not give a history of prior antibiotic therapy. Teenagers expressed psychological distress over acne, and believed that hormonal factors, diet and hygiene were important factors in causing acne.

Conclusions: There is a need for accessible, accurate education on acne and its appropriate treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Image
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Erythromycin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Singapore / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Erythromycin