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Truncal Acne Negatively Affects Quality of Life, Self-Perception in Adolescents and Young Adults


A survey indicated that truncal acne may negatively impact adolescents’ and young adults’ quality of life and self-perception.

The negative impact seen in a survey of the self-perception of truncal acne in adolescents and young adults indicates a need for more information and stronger medical and psychological care in these populations, according to Acta Dermato Venereologica.

young adults sitting

young adults are sitting on the floor looking at the camera

This study was conducted because there is no epidemiological information available about truncal acne.

First, study authors aimed to evaluate the self-perceived impact of truncal acne on daily life and quality of life of adolescents and young adult participants in France, as well as to gather epidemiological data about adolescents and young adults to broaden the knowledge base of truncal acne through a survey.

Acne has previously been predominantly described and examined for its presence on the face, yet it also presents on the trunk. Even though truncal acne is frequently cited as a reason for dermatology consultation, a very small amount of information is available.

Participants’ mean (SD) age was 18.6 (4.3) years, where 75.7% were female and 52.9% noted severe and 16.0% noted very severe truncal acne. A total of 90.0% of participants with truncal acne also noted previous or present acne on the face.

This study evaluated the self-reported impact of truncal acne in adolescents and young adults using an internet survey in France in 1,001 adolescents and young adults with truncal acne.

The study authors discovered that stress (46.3%), a lipid-high diet (33.2%), and sleeplessness (27.0%) were believed to be truncal acne triggers. A total of 44.7% consulted at minimum 1 health care professional and 28.1% searched the internet or social network for facts on truncal acne.

Out of subjects with truncal acne, 68.4% constantly thought about their condition, and overall, 79.9% of the participants with severe acne vs 41.8% with mild or moderate acne: 41.8% thought about their acne relentlessly (P < .0001). Significantly (P < .001) more females than males said they had facial acne. A significant (P = .0067) association was seen between facial and truncal acne severity.

The authors took note of an interesting finding and discovered that the amount of information known about the condition of their truncal acne was related to the severity, and that participants with severe truncal acne were significantly (P < .0001) better knowledgeable about the disease than those who had it less severely.

After the authors stratified data according to sex, a high-lipid diet, cosmetics, anxiolytics and stress were significantly (all P < .05) more commonly reported by females, while cannabis or alcohol consumption were significantly (all P < .05) more commonly indicated by males.

It was found that females aged older than 18 years identified menstruation and contraception pills as acne triggers.

Importantly, study authors note that those respondents under 18 years old searched the internet or social networks more frequently for information (P < .0001), with females more likely to do this almost 3 times as much as males. Authors stated that more information should be given to this population, and that suitable information and training of health care professionals caring for this population should occur.

“The results of the current survey demonstrate that truncal acne has an undeniable impact on mental health and quality of life of adolescents and young adults. Two-thirds thought constantly about their truncal acne. This concern was important not only for those with severe or very severe acne (P < .0001), but also for participants with milder forms of truncal acne, with a significant predominance of females (P = .0004) compared with males,” explained the study authors.

Some limitations of this study include unequal distribution of sex (75.7% female participants), no confirmation of a diagnosis of truncal acne by a dermatologist before survey completion, and there was no plan for sample size as presently, there is no reference study that would have allowed a minimum sample size to be calculated.

“Truncal acne remains an underestimated health issue that causes both a physical and an important psychological burden. This survey provides information about the perception of truncal acne in adolescents and young adults for the first time, and highlights the need for information to be provided and for reinforced medical and psychological care of this population,” concluded the authors.


Ballanger F, Claudel JP, Leccia M, et al. Truncal acne in adolescents and young adults: self-reported perception. Acta Derm Venereol. Published online March 28, 2023. doi: 10.2340/actadv.v103.5123

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