Background: Although acne vulgaris is a common skin disorder, limited epidemiological data exist specifically for European populations.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of self-reported acne among young people in Europe and evaluate the effect of lifestyle on acne.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional population-based online survey in representative samples of individuals aged 15-24 years in Belgium, Czech and Slovak Republics, France, Italy, Poland and Spain (n = 10 521), identified by a quota sampling method based on age, geographic location and socio-professional category.
Results: The overall adjusted prevalence of self-reported acne was 57.8% (95% confidence interval 56.9% to 58.7%). The rates per country ranged from 42.2% in Poland to 73.5% in the Czech and Slovak Republics. The prevalence of acne was highest at age 15-17 years and decreased with age. On multivariate analysis, a history of maternal or paternal acne was associated with an increased probability of having acne (odds ratio 3.077, 95% CI 2.743 to 3.451, and 2.700, 95% CI 2.391 to 3.049, respectively; both P < 0.0001), as was the consumption of chocolate (OR 1.276, 95% CI 1.094 to 1.488, for quartile 4 vs. quartile 1). Increasing age (OR 0.728, 95% CI 0.639 to 0.830 for age 21-24 years vs. 15-17 years) and smoking tobacco (OR 0.705, 95% CI 0.616 to 0.807) were associated with a reduced probability of acne.
Conclusion: The overall prevalence of self-reported acne was high in adolescents/young adults in the European countries investigated. Heredity was the main risk factor for developing acne.
© 2017 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.