Acne can have an important psychological impact. We surveyed 852 adolescents aged 12-25 years about their knowledge of acne and its treatment in a non-medical context. The study involved a questionnaire administered to callers to a youth telephone helpline in France. Callers were categorized into those who currently had acne, those who had had acne previously, and those who had never had acne. Most respondents (66.2%) had experienced acne symptoms, which were mild in 50.2% of cases and severe in 16% of cases. Often, acne had been long-lasting (>12 months in 49.6% of cases). Many thought that gender, excess weight, eating dairy products, and physical activity did not influence acne, and that frequent washing could improve acne. Eating chocolate and snacks, smoking cigarettes, sweating, not washing, touching/squeezing spots, eating fatty foods, using make-up, pollution, and menstruation were thought to worsen acne. The majority (80.8%) did not believe acne to be a disease, but rather a normal phase of adolescence, yet 69.3% agreed it should be treated. There was a preference for topical vs. systemic treatment. Many (38.6%) of the respondents with acne had not consulted a physician. Almost two-thirds of respondents wanted more information about acne. Providing more information about acne might increase the likelihood of them consulting a physician and getting better treatment for the condition.