The prevalence, risk factors, and psychosocial impacts of acne vulgaris in medical students: a literature review.

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Affecting approximately 9.4% of the population worldwide, acne vulgaris is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease. Medical students are exposed to higher levels of stress and have a higher prevalence of acne. However, the risk factors and the impact of acne on medical students' mental health remains poorly understood. The aim of this literature review is to: (i) summarize the prevalence and risk factors of acne vulgaris in medical students and (ii) highlight the impact of psychological consequences of acne in medical students. A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE and EMBASE in OVID, using variations in the following search terms: acne vulgaris, medical students, self-esteem, psychology, psychiatry, suicide, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, positive and negative effects, psychological well-being, anxiety, and depression. Studies that stated the prevalence or risk factors of acne vulgaris and/or examined the association between psychosocial effects and acne vulgaris in medical students were included. Eleven cross-sectional studies were included. The prevalence of acne vulgaris in medical students ranged from 34.38% to 97.9% across nine studies. Review of these articles revealed that acne prevalence is associated with stress, gender differences, and lifestyle factors in medical students. Acne had many negative psychological and social impacts on medical students including negative self-image, lower confidence, embarrassment, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and impaired social behaviors. Further research on the intersection between acne vulgaris and the mental health of medical students is needed.


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