Systematic review of the epidemiology of acne vulgaris

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 1;10(1):5754. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62715-3.


A systematic review was conducted on epidemiology studies on acne obtained from a Web of Science search to study risk factors associated with acne presentation and severity. A strong association was observed between several risk factors - family history, age, BMI and skin type - and acne presentation or severity in multiple studies. The pooled odds ratio of 2.36 (95% CI 1.97-2.83) for overweight/obese BMI with reference to normal/underweight BMI and the pooled odds ratio of 2.91 (95% CI 2.58-3.28) for family history in parents with reference to no family history in parents demonstrate this strong association. In addition, a pooled odds ratio of 1.07 (95% CI 0.42-2.71) was obtained for sex (males with reference to females). However, the association between other factors, such as dietary factors and smoking, and acne presentation or severity was less clear, with inconsistent results between studies. Thus, further research is required to understand how these factors may influence the development and severity of acne. This study summarizes the potential factors that may affect the risk of acne presentation or severe acne and can help researchers and clinicians to understand the epidemiology of acne and severe acne. Furthermore, the findings can direct future acne research, with the hope of gaining insight into the pathophysiology of acne so as to develop effective acne treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin / pathology