Background: Adolescent acne impacts self-esteem and quality of life in adolescents and its aetiology is not fully clarified.
Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiological features of adolescent acne in North East China and determine the impact of genetic and environmental factors on the pathogenesis of acne.
Methods: Data were collected from 5696 undergraduates (2920 patients and 2776 controls) using questionnaire. The survey data were analysed using spss version 13.0 and heritability of adolescent acne was calculated using Falconer's method.
Results: Total prevalence of adolescent acne was 51.30% (52.74% in males, 49.65% in females). The difference between genders was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Adolescents with a family history of acne had earlier age of onset (P < 0.001). The prevalence of acne in first- and second-degree relatives of acne patients was 22.5% and 7.19%, respectively, significantly higher than in controls (P < 0.001). Heritability of adolescent acne was 78.47 +/- 2.05% in first-degree relatives and 75.05 +/- 3.18% in second-degree relatives. Risk factors to the acne suffers include (in descending order of occurrence), acne family history, mental stress, menstrual disorder, frequent insomnia, high fat diet, being male, dysmenorrhoea, anxiety, sleeping < 8 h per day, depression, fried food, study pressure, spicy food, oily skin and mixed type skin. Protective factors include (presented in descending order of occurrence) dry skin, neutral skin, frequent fruit consumption and computer access time < 2 h daily.
Conclusion: Adolescent acne includes a familial genetic predisposition. Additional environmental factors of psychological stress, skin oiliness and high caloric diets may also contribute to the onset of acne in Chinese adolescents.