Epidemiology and risk factors of childhood acne in Korea: a cross-sectional community based study

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Abstract

Background.

The epidemiology of acne vulgaris appears to be evolving, with an increasingly earlier onset seen in childhood. Relevant studies have been rarely performed in Asia.

Aim.

We sought to estimate the prevalence and clinical characteristics of acne among schoolchildren, and its association with treatment-seeking behaviour, body mass index (BMI), nutritional habits and other lifestyle elements.

Methods.

A cross-sectional study was conducted with elementary schoolchildren aged 7–12 years. Children were interviewed by self-administered questionnaires, and were subsequently evaluated by dermatologists.

Results.

Of 693 children enrolled, 36.2% were diagnosed with acne, and the prevalence increased with age. Additionally, clinical characteristics including severity, duration of disease and lesion distribution were significantly different between the lower (aged 7–9 years) and the higher (aged 10–12 years) grades. Subjective features including recognition about acne and treatment-seeking behaviours were also different between the two groups. Overweight or obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 at 18 years of age; OR = 2.7) and consumption of chocolates/sweets (OR = 1.6) were significant risk factors for acne.

Conclusions.

In the current study, the prevalence of acne among elementary schoolchildren was high, but only a few children had received treatment. Physicians should be attentive to childhood acne, and educate patients and their parents about the need to treat it.

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