The individual health burden of acne: appearance-related distress in male and female adolescents and adults with back, chest and facial acne

J Health Psychol. 2009 Nov;14(8):1105-18. doi: 10.1177/1359105309342470.


This study examined appearance-related distress in patients with acne. One hundred and thirty-two people attending a specialist acne clinic completed questionnaires including the Derriford Appearance Scale and three self-rated acne scales covering more (facial) and less visible (chest, back) acne sites. Women with acne demonstrated greater self-consciousness of appearance and negative self-concept than men. Subjective rating of severity of facial acne was significantly associated with increased social self-consciousness in women, but not in men. Back acne was significantly associated with sexual and bodily self-consciousness of appearance in both men and women. Patients 20 years and above were significantly more likely to suffer appearance-related distress than 16-19-year-olds. Although not a key focus of this study, ethnicity was also implicated in appearance concern arising from acne.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Image*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult