Facial sebum affects the development of acne, especially the distribution of inflammatory acne

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Mar;27(3):301-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04384.x. Epub 2011 Dec 17.


Background: The increased sebum secretion has been considered as one of the pathogenic factors of acne.

Objective: The goal of this study was to assess the correlation between the casual sebum level and the severity of acne using objective measuring methods in a large acne patients group. We also investigated the influence of age or gender on the correlation.

Methods: A total number of 914 acne patients were recruited. The standard digital photographs were taken, and the acne lesions were counted as comedones or inflammatory lesions. The casual sebum level was measured using the Sebumeter SM 815(®) . The correlation analysis was performed.

Results: The casual sebum level showed positive correlation with the number of acne lesions. The casual sebum level markedly influenced the number of inflammatory lesions and the acne lesions located in the U-zone. In the young acne patients, the casual sebum level showed significant correlations in the U-zone, whereas in the old acne patients, there were significant correlations in the T-zone. The male acne patients were more influenced by the casual sebum level.

Conclusion: This was the first study to report the significant correlations between the casual sebum level and the number, proportion and location of acne lesions in a large acne patients group, using an objective, bioengineering method. Moreover, we also found that the influence of sebum was prominent on the inflammatory lesions. In addition, both age and gender influenced the correlation between the casual sebum level and the acne.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Male
  • Sebum*
  • Young Adult