Relationship between acne and the use of cosmetics: Results of a questionnaire study in 539 Korean individuals

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Jul;20(7):2172-2178. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13853. Epub 2020 Nov 30.


Background: Acne vulgaris is one of the most common dermatological diseases, and it is known that various factors are related to triggering this condition in a patient. In particular, although the use of cosmetics is thought to be associated with the onset of a patient developing acne, there are few studies that have been conducted to date on this disease and its related factors.

Methods: To begin with, a total of 539 patients with acne vulgaris, who visited three dermatologic clinics in Korea, were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their condition in relation to clinical features and exacerbating factors, including the use of cosmetics. The patients all provided an accurate acne treatment history as well.

Results: Among the respondents, 38.1% of patients who failed treatment answered that the condition of their acne was worsened by the continued use of cosmetics, which was significantly higher than 26.3% of the surveyed treatment-naive patients (P < .05). In this relation, double cleansing (cleansing twice using oil and water-based cleanser) and the number of cosmetics in use were also noted in higher numbers than in the treatment-failure patients. As noted, the liquid-type foundation and concealer were frequently used in this group.

Conclusions: This study showed the influence of cosmetics, especially in acne patients with a history of treatment failures. These results also show differences according to specific cosmetic types and formulations. Therefore, overall dermatologists should consider advising about cosmetic use to acne patients along with medical treatment options for the patients with acne.

Keywords: acne; cosmetic dermatology; cosmetics.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris* / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris* / epidemiology
  • Cosmetics* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cosmetics