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Acne Survey Reveals Only 3 in 10 Patients Have Gone to a Dermatologist for Treatment


The Sun Pharma survey included 1003 respondents with mild to moderate acne.

Massimo Parisi/AdobeStock

Massimo Parisi/AdobeStock

Sun Pharma recently conducted an acne study that revealed “defeatist attitudes” about acne treatments and overall self-consciousness due to acne. The survey included 1003 respondents aged 13 to 55 with mild to moderate acne. According to the survey, only 3 in 10 respondents reported going to a dermatologist for acne treatment, “suggesting that many people with mild to moderate acne are missing out on effective treatments.” Additionally, 60% of respondents said they "just have to deal with" their acne, and 54% believe that acne is not preventable.

The Sun Pharma survey was advised by 7 dermatology providers, including Hilary Baldwin, MD; Renata Block, MMS, PA-C; Dawn Eichenfield, MD, PhD; Corey L. Hartman, MD, FAAD; Marjon Vatanchi, MD, FAAD; Karan Lal, DO, FAAD; and Lindsey Watford, CRNP.

Most respondents (85%) are aware that hormones play a crucial role in the underlying cause of acne, 69% reported sweat as a main contributing factor of acne, and 30% believe cutting junk food out of their diet can “make their acne go away.” Additionally, 35% of respondents said they think picking at their acne will help it go away, a common misconception that can lead to permanent scarring.

“The primary misconceptions stem from two-fold reasoning: the first and most important is not understanding that it is a chronic disease. Many individuals may struggle with acne their entire lives and not understand why. This question comes up often when doing an acne consult. Also, the misconception products work right away when it actually takes time for a product to work, and one needs to be more patient with treatments,” said Block, survey adviser and a board-certified physician assistant from Chicago, Illinois, and a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisory Board member.

Additional misconceptions and misinformation from the survey include 45% of respondents finding acne advice from search engines and 43% from friends and family. Although 40% of respondents have received acne information from a dermatologist, one-fifth reported they use social media for acne information, primarily TikTok and Instagram.

“Access plays a considerable role in treatment; patients may have to wait 4-6 months to be seen by a dermatologist, and again, people do not have the patience for this. Letting the public know that advanced practice providers [APPs] are available at the dermatology clinic and one can be seen within 1-2 weeks is a message we need to start working on making the public aware of the access to be seen faster. However, it's also important to note that not all dermatologists have APPs, suggesting a need for better access overall," said Block. "What is terrifying is that patients turn to social media from influencers who are not dermatology medical professionals. Often, these individuals are led down the wrong path, which can do more harm than good."

According to the survey, 77% of respondents reported having a skin care routine, but fewer than one in five characterized themselves as being "very successful" and two-thirds said they were "somewhat successful" in "mostly" preventing acne breakouts.

Approximately 30% of respondents reported that their acne has prevented them from attending social events, 55% reported feeling self-conscious on video calls, 48% said they have hidden from cameras, and 38% have added filters to their photos to hide their acne.

“People want to be heard, and as dermatology practitioners and staff, we must have the time to listen. As with any dermatological disease, acne treatment must come with a multi-factorial approach, which includes psychological support. The support must start from the minute they schedule the appointment until they leave the office. No exceptions,” concluded Block.


Sun Pharma survey reveals Americans with mild-to-moderate acne have defeatist attitudes about treatment, despite self-consciousness. PRNewswire. News release. November 2, 2023. Accessed November 3, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sun-pharma-survey-reveals-americans-with-mild-to-moderate-acne-have-defeatist-attitudes-about-treatment-despite-self-consciousness-301975000.html#:~:text=PRINCETON%2C%20N.J.%2C%20Nov.%202,acne%2C%20despite%20feelings%20of%20self%2D

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