Background: Acne vulgaris is believed to be the most common disease of the skin. There is no Indian study on the profile of acne vulgaris, markers of severe forms of acne vulgaris and a possible correlation between acne vulgaris and markers of androgenicity in females.
Aim: To study the profile of acne vulgaris, its seasonal variation, relationship with smoking and possible correlation between acne vulgaris and markers of androgenicity in females.
Methods: The study was conducted between August 2006 and June 2008. All patients with acne vulgaris who consented to participate in the study were included. The parameters evaluated included age, gender, age of onset, duration of lesions, site of lesions, grade, relation with menstrual cycle, markers of androgenicity, number of acne lesions such as comedones, papules pustules and nodules, number and site of post-acne scarring, post-acne hyperpigmentation, seasonal variation and history of smoking.
Results: A total of 309 patients with acne vulgaris were included in the study. The frequency of acne vulgaris in our study was 1.068%. Mean age of the study group was 19.78 years. Male to female ratio was 1.25:1. The most common age group involved was 16 to 20 years (59.8%). Mean age of onset was 15.97 years. Face was involved in all the patients, followed by back (28.2%), chest (20.1%), neck (9.4%) and arms (10%). In the older age groups, women were more likely to report having acne vulgaris than men (P = 0.01). The closed comedones outnumbered open comedones by a factor of 4.9:1. A total of 186 patients (60.2%) had grade 1 acne vulgaris, 85 (27.5%) had grade 2 acne, 8 (2.6%) had grade 3 acne and 30 (9.7%) had grade 4 acne vulgaris. There was a higher incidence of scarring (39.5%) and post-acne hyperpigmentation (24.6%) in our study. In female patients, 57.7% had premenstrual flare and 12.4% had cutaneous markers of androgenicity. There was no association between severity of acne vulgaris and other markers of androgenicity (P = 0.108). Seborrheic dermatitis (21.35%) was the most common disease associated. Seasonal variation was observed only in 80 patients (25.9%); 71 patients (23%) exacerbated in summer and 9 patients (2.9%) in winter. Smokers had more severe grade of acne vulgaris compared to nonsmokers (P = 0.001).
Conclusion: This study brings out the clinical profile of acne vulgaris in a tertiary care hospital in South India.