Many women unsatisfied with acne treatment


Findings from a qualitative study in women with adult acne show that the skin condition leads to strong concerns about appearance. As well, acne causes these women to experience mental and emotional health consequences and disruption of their personal and professional lives.

In the paper, published in JAMA Dermatology (July 28, 2021, online ahead of print), 50 women aged 18 to 40 years with severe acne were interviewed about their skin condition. The investigators then conducted qualitative analysis on the free listing, open-ended, semistructured interviews.


The participants described acne-related concerns about their appearance that affected their social, professional, and personal lives. Many noted they changed their behaviour because of their acne. They also commonly reported depression, anxiety, and social isolation.


Participants described successful treatment as having completely clear skin over time or a manageable number of blemishes.


Many of the participants described frustration with finding a dermatologist with whom they were comfortable and with identifying effective treatments for their acne.

The authors conclude that future trials are needed to understand the optimal treatment approaches for women with acne to improve outcomes in this population.