Background: Data are lacking on the prevalence of acne, its effects on quality of life (QOL) and the treatment usage among Chinese patients in late adolescence.
Aim: To derive data about the prevalence and predictive factors of acne, the disability caused by acne and choice of treatment used by Chinese late adolescents in Hong Kong.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of a random sample of 389 entrants in a university in Hong Kong, using the Global Acne Grading System (GAGS) to measure the clinical severity of acne and the Cardiff Acne Disability Index (CADI) to measure QOL.
Results: The response rate was 99.3%. The prevalence of acne was of 81.5% (95% CI 77.6-85.4%) and coexisted with a high frequency of acne disability at a rate of 81.8% (95% CI 78.1-85.6%). Assessment of the clinical severity of acne did not correlate strongly with the effect on QOL (gamma(s) = 0.445, P < 0.001). Over the previous 6 months, 30.3% of subjects had used topical treatments, 3.9% had taken systemic conventional western drugs and 3.2% of the subjects had used traditional Chinese medicine. Multivariate logistic regression was used to explore the predictive factors for acne disability. Female gender (P = 0.002), higher GAGS score (P < 0.001), higher perceived stress (P = 0.01) and willingness to pay Hong Kong$15,000 (970 pounds) for a hypothetical permanent cure (P = 0.03) were positive predictors.
Conclusions: Acne is prevalent in Hong Kong and has considerable psychological effects. The association between clinical severity and impaired QOL is not strong.