Clinical profile of acne vulgaris: an observational study from a tertiary care institution in Northern Kerala, India


  • Jisy S. Raghavan Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India
  • Sharim Fathima Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India
  • Suhaiba Ameera Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India
  • Kunnummal Muhammed Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India



Acne vulgaris, Females, Adult acne, Seborrhoeic dermatitis


Background: Acne is one of the most common disease affecting adolescence. Although prior studies have evaluated epidemiologic patterns of acne in different ethnicities and regions, literature is lacking from this part of the country. The objectives of the study were to delineate the clinical and epidemiological profile of acne vulgaris in a population from northern Kerala in South India.

Methods: The study was carried out for 6 months and it included 100 patients. Epidemiology including pattern, aggravating factors, seasonal variation, diet, smoking, markers of androgenecity and associations were evaluated in all newly diagnosed cases of acne vulgaris who attended the outpatient department in Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India from January 2018 to June 2018.

Results: Out of 100 patients females (74%) outnumbered males (26%) and although the majority affected belonged to the age group of 21-25 years (38%), adult acne was observed in 28%. Grade 3 acne was the commonest (44%), followed by grade 2 (30%) and grade 4 (18%). Face was affected in all patients with cheeks (91%), followed by forehead (72%), mandible (36%) and chin (28%) and trunk (23%). Scarring was found in 34% and pigmentation in 40%. Family history of acne was observed in 33%.

Conclusions: This study brings out the clinical profile of acne in a tertiary care hospital in South India.


Stern S. Deramatologists and office-based care of dermatologist disease in the 21st century. J Invest Dermatol Symp Proc. 2004;9:126-30.

Zouboulis CC, Eady A, Philpott M. What is the pathogenesis of acne? Exp Dermatol. 2005;14:143-52.

Perkins AC, Cheng CE, Hillebrand GG. Comparison of the epidemiology of acne vulgaris among Caucasian, Asian, Continental Indian and African woman. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011;25:1054-60.

Friedlander SF, Eichenfield LF, Fowler JF. Acne epidemiology and pathophysiology. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2010;29(2):2-4.

Poli F, Dreno B, Verschoore M. An epidemiological study of acne in female adults: results of a survey conducted in France. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2001;15:541-5.

Perkins AC, Maglione J, Hillebrand GG. Acne vulgaris in women: prevalence across the life span. J Womens Health. 2012;21:223-30.

Lucky AW, Biro FM, Simbartl LA. Predictors of severity of acne vulgaris in young adolescent girls: results of a 5 year longitudinal study. J Pediatr. 1997;130:30-9.

Adityan B, Thappa DM. Profile of acne vulgaris-a hospital-based study from South India. Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009;75:272-8.

Al-Ameer AM, Al-Akloby Om. Demographic features and seasonal variations in persons with acne vulgaris in Saudi Arabia: a hospital based study. Int J Dermatol. 2002;41:870-1.

Simpson NB, Cunliffe WJ. Disorders of sebaceous glands. In: Burns T, Breathnach S, Cox N, Griffiths C, eds. Rookís Textbook of Dermatology. 7th ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2004:43.1-43.75.

Zaenglein AL, Graber EM, Thiboutot DM, Strauss JS. Acne vulgaris and acneiform eruptions. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Gilchrest BA, Paller AS, Leffell DJ, eds. Fitzpatrickís Dermatology in General medicine. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Publishing; 2008: 690-703.16.

Amado JM, Matos ME, Abreu AM, Loureiro L, Oliveira J, Verde A, et al. The prevalence of acne in the north of Portugal. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2006;20:1287-95.

Tutakne MA, Chari KV. Acne, rosacea and perioral dermatitis. In: Valia RG, Valia AR, eds. IADVL Textbook and Atlas of Dermatology. 2nd ed. Mumbai: Bhalani Publishing House; 2003: 689-710.

Kilkenny M, Merlin K, Plunkett A, Marks R. The prevalence of common skin conditions in Australian school students: 3, Acne vulgaris. Brit J Dermatol. 1998;139:840-5.

Cunliffe WJ, Holland DB, Clark SM, Stables GI. Comedogenesis: some new aetiological, clinical and therapeutic strategies. Brit J Dermatol. 2000;142:1084-91.

Kane A, Niang SO, Diagne AC, Ly F, Ndiaye B. Epidemiological, clinical, and therapeutic features of acne in Dakar, Senegal. Int J Dermatol. 2007;46:36-8.

Goulden V, Stables GI, Cunliffe WJ. Prevalence of facial acne in adults. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999;41:577-80.

Layton AM, Henderson CA, Cunliffe WJ. A clinical evaluation of acne scarring and its incidence. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1994;19:303-8.

Yeung CK, Teo LH, Xiang LH, Chan HH. A community-based epidemiological study of acne vulgaris in Hong Kong adolescents. Acta Dermatol Venereol. 2002;82:104-7.

Taylor SC, Cook-Bolden F, Rahman Z, Strachan D. Acne vulgaris in skin of color. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002;46:98-106.20.

Stoll S, Shalita AR, Webster GF, Kaplan R, Danesh S, Penstein A. The effect of the menstrual cycle on acne. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001;45:957-60.

Khunger N, Kumar C. A clinic-epidemiological study of adult acne: is it different from adolescent acne. Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2012;78:335-41.

Wei B, Pang Y, Zhu H. The epidemiology of adolescent acne in North east China. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24:953-7.

Ghodsi SZ, Orawa H, Zouboulis CC. Prevelance, severity and severity risk factors of acne in high school pupils: a community based study. J Invest Dermatol. 2009;129:2136-41.

Kligman AM. Post adolescent acne in women. Cutis. 1991;48(1):75-7.

Kligman AM, Mills OH. Acne cosmetica. Arch Dermatol. 1972;106:843-50.

Sardana K, Sharma RC, Sarkar R. Seasonal variation in acne vulgaris-myth or reality. J Dermatol. 2002;29:484-8.

Plewig G, Jansen T. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Gilchrest BA, Paller AS, Leffell DJ, eds. Fitzpatrickís Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Publishing; 2008: 219-25.

PeyrÌ J, Lleonart M. Spanish Study Group SEBDERM. Clinical and therapeutic profile and quality of life of patients with seborrheic dermatitis. Actas Derm. 2007;98:476-82.






Original Research Articles