Acne itch: do acne patients suffer from itching?

Acta Derm Venereol. 2008;88(1):38-42. doi: 10.2340/00015555-0355.


Patients with acne often scratch their lesions. As scratching is also a part of the response to pruritic stimuli, this study aimed to determine whether itching accompanies acne. A total of 108 teenagers (mean age 15.8+/-1.8 years) with acne were included in the study. All participants completed a specially designed questionnaire on demographic and clinical data. Itching accompanying acne lesions was noted in half of the patients, including 15 (13.8%) teenagers reporting pruritus at the time of examination and 39 (36.1%) who reported experiencing itching in the past. Itching episodes were of short duration in most subjects (<1 min: 51.9%; up to 10 min: 38.9%) and occurred infrequently (several times a week: 24.5%; at least once a month: 30.2%; less than once a month: 37.7%). However, 31.5% of patients reported that they had used medical treatment to reduce itching due to acne lesions. We conclude that itching of mild to moderate severity is a relatively common concomitant symptom of acne lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires