To estimate the prevalence and identify risk factors that may be associated with acne among university students in Syria, a cross-sectional study was conducted in the Syrian International University for Science and Technology in December 2009. A sample of 500 students was chosen. Each participant was subjected to an interview and clinical examination of acne in addition to height and weight measurements. Acne prevalence was 34.7% (172/496). Male students had higher rate of acne compared to females (42.9% versus 23.6%, ) and their acne started significantly at a younger age (18.13 versus 19.04 years old, ). Face was the commonest site for acne in both males and females. Washing face frequently per day in both sexes has a significant relation with a decreased prevalence of acne. Moreover, psychological stress particularly when the students were away from family was associated with a significant higher rate of acne. We found that the prevalence of acne steadily increased with increasing body mass index. Acne is a health and psychological problem among university students particularly when affecting the face. Several factors such as gender, body mass index, and stress were found to be associated with acne formation. 1. Introduction Vulgaris is a common skin disease which is a significant health problem among adolescents and young adults. It affects 85–100% of people at some point in their lives, and it usually begins at puberty. Acne can persist into the 30s and beyond. People of all ethnic backgrounds get acne . More than half of those who experienced acne sought medical treatment. In USA, 61.9% of patients aged 18 years and older were seen in clinics for acne vulgaris . Likewise in the university outpatient clinics, the most common complaint was acne vulgaris . Acne formation is multifactorial. The four primary factors determining acne development are abnormal follicular epithelial desquamation, hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands, proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes, and follicular formation . Furthermore, androgens play an important role in the pathogenesis of acne. Several studies in the Middle East reported that emotional stress, premenstrual factors (in females), and certain foods such as fatty food, sweets, and spices were believed to aggravate acne formation [5, 6]. On the other hand, in Syria, there is a lack of published studies on acne among university students. Studying acne is important because some forms of acne such as inflammatory acne may leave scarring and psychological consequences. Presence of acne has a negative
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