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Acne Vulgaris in Early Adolescent Boys Correlations With Pubertal Maturation and Age

Anne W. Lucky, MD; Frank M. Biro, MD; Gertrude A. Huster, MS; John A. Morrison, PhD; Nancy Elder, RN
Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(2):210-216. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680020078009.
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• To assess the prevalence and severity of acne vulgaris in young adolescent boys, we studied 219 black and 249 white boys in fifth through ninth grades in Cincinnati, Ohio. The mean age was 12.2 ± 1.4 years, with a range of 9 to 15 years. Pubertal maturation was scored as Tanner pubic hair stages (PH I to V) and pubertal stages (PS I to IV) that included testicular volume assessment. Acne was scored by number of comedonal (open plus closed comedones) and inflammatory (papules plus pustules) lesions. Comedonal and inflammatory lesions were analyzed separately and evaluated both as numerical scores and as grades (1, ≤10 lesions; 2,11 to 25 lesions; and 3, ≥26 lesions). Grades 2 and 3 were considered clinically significant acne. Acne became progressively more severe with advancing maturity. Mean acne scores correlated better with PS and pubic hair than with age. Black subjects were more mature than white subjects. Black boys in PS I and II had significantly more comedones than white boys; white boys had significantly more inflammatory lesions at PS I and III. Clinically significant comedonal acne was already present in PS I and occurred in 100% of boys in PS IV. In contrast, no boys at PS I and only 50% at PS IV had significant inflammatory acne. Midfacial acne dominated. We concluded that acne prevalence and severity correlate well with advancing pubertal maturation in young adolescent boys. Comedonal acne was more frequent and severe than inflammatory disease. Awareness of the extent and severity of acne in preadolescents and young adolescents may ultimately provide rationale for early intervention and thus prevention of severe acne vulgaris.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:210-216)


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