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Biomed Res Int. 2019 Feb 3;2019:6126808. doi: 10.1155/2019/6126808. eCollection 2019.

How to Evaluate Acne in Reproductive-Age Women: An Epidemiological Study in Chinese Communities.

Wang YY1,2, Li SW2,3, Luo S2,3, Qin L2,3, Zeng X2,3, Li L2,3, Li XH2,3.

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Nursing Department of West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children, Sichuan University, Ministry of Education, Chengdu, China.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.



Acne is not only a skin condition but also a cardinal component of many systemic diseases or syndromes. This study was aimed to investigate the prevalence of acne in reproductive-age women in Sichuan province, China, and to evaluate acne as a skin problem alone or a symptom of gynecological/endocrinological disease.


From October 2008 to September 2009, 1043 reproductive-age women from 19 to 45 years of age from seven communities of three districts in Sichuan province completed a standardized questionnaire and a physical examination. Acne was classified using the Pillsbury scale, and hirsutism was assessed using a modified Ferriman-Gallwey method. Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was based on the 2003 Rotterdam criteria. Some endocrine and metabolic markers were detected for the women diagnosed with PCOS related to acne and the control group.


The prevalence of acne was 32.5%, and the highest prevalence (9.6%) was seen in the 19-24-year-old age group. Prevalence among women eating dessert frequently, exercising seldom, or among sedentary workers was significantly higher in the acne group (14.1%, 55.6%, and 51.3%, respectively) than in the nonacne group (10.8%, 45.7%, and 35.5%; all P<0.05). The prevalence of oligomenorrhea and hirsutism in the acne group (17.6%, 24.7%) was significantly higher than in the nonacne group (8.6%, 15.1%; both P<0.05). Among the participants with acne, 64.3% had acne alone, 18.3% were diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, and 17.4% were diagnosed with PCOS. The level of serum androstendione in the group of PCOS (10.98±3.12 nmol/L) was significantly higher than that in the control group (8.85±3.09nmol/L) (P<0.05).


When reproductive-age women with acne are encountered in gynecology-endocrinology or dermatology clinics, physicians should consider evaluating them from PCOS, hyperandrogenism, or acne alone.

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