Acne vulgaris is a common condition among adolescents regardless of age, gender, and race. We compare the frequency, severity, help-seeking behavior, treatment, and beliefs about acne among students based on race, ethnicity, gender, and age. Anonymous surveys were administered to 1,214 students aged 10-19 years of varied gender, race, and ethnicity in public middle and high schools in New Jersey. Results showed the frequency and severity of acne were high (76% and 65%, respectively) and more prevalent in white compared to non-white respondents (RR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.04-1.24 and RR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.09-1.37, respectively), and also in older compared to younger ages (RR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.17-1.32 and RR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.32-1.55, respectively). The majority of respondents (83%) reported never having seen a physician for their acne; however, those reporting acne of some severity were more likely to have seen a physician compared with those who did not report acne (21% vs. 8%, p < 0.001). Blacks who reported mild or moderate severity of acne were more likely to have seen a health professional compared to white respondents with same the acne severity (RR = 3.63, 95% CI = 2.06-6.37 and RR = 3.06, 95% CI = 2.02-4.65, respectively). Conversely, Hispanic respondents with mild or moderate acne were less likely to have seen a health professional compared to whites with the same acne severity (RR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.35-0.89 and RR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.26-0.86, respectively). Beliefs about external factors affecting acne also varied by race and ethnicity. In conclusion, the severity, frequency, and beliefs about acne all play a role in help-seeking behaviors, which vary to a significant extent by race and ethnicity.
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.