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Saudi Med J. 2005 Dec;26(12):1958-61.

Prevalence, knowledge, beliefs and psychosocial impact of acne in University students in Central Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Dermatology, Qassim University, PO Box 30109 Buraidah 51477, Qassim, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To describe the prevalence of acne among Qassim University students, and to evaluate the knowledge, beliefs, and its psychosocial impact on them.


We observed 717 students (381 males, and 336 females), at Qassim University Medical clinics during February and March 2005. We interviewed and examined the subjects for the presence of acne. After confirming the diagnosis, we asked the patients several questions about acne, history, knowledge, perceptions, beliefs, and its psychosocial impact on them. We performed statistical analysis using the chi-square test with a 5% significance level.


We found 56.2% of the students to have acne. The difference between both gender was statistically insignificant, and 47.9% of patients suffered from acne for more than one year. Of those who sought medical advice, 40.3% had their consultation within 3 months of the disease onset, and 58.9% of patients sought medical advice as a self-decision. Fifty-six percent believed they have an adequate knowledge of acne, and the most common source of information was newspapers. The most believed factor responsible for acne was hormones, and the most aggravating factor was stress. In 46% of patients, acne had no, or minimal effect on their self-image and in most of the patients (73%) it had no or minimal effect on their relationships.


Acne is a common skin disease among Qassim university students, affecting both gender. We need health education in our community to encourage people to seek appropriate help for skin problems. We require further community based research to evaluate the effectiveness of such educational interventions in under-standing the natural history, pathogenesis and the sequelae of acne, increasing help-seeking behavior, and improving the awareness of patients about acne.

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