Living with acne: A patient-centered study on myths, beliefs and perceptions
AbstractIntroduction: There is a lack of information on the knowledge and understanding of patients with acne about their condition. Though not life-threatening, acne vulgaris has adverse effects on an individual’s social and psychological status. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the patients presenting with acne in the OPD of Fatima Memorial Hospital, Shadman. A self-administered questionnaire was used containing socio-demographic factors (age, gender, marital status, educational level), acne severity (calculated by the Global Acne Grading System), perceived causes, aggravating and relieving factors of acne, preferred modes of treatment, and sources of information. The perceived effect of acne on marriage and pregnancy was also asked. Data were analyzed using SPSS v.26. Results: Out of 100 respondents, 60% were female. According to the GAGs score, 70% had mild, 25% had moderate and 5% had severe acne. The three main causal factors of acne pointed out by respondents were puberty (66%), use of cosmetics (22%), and genetic causes (18%). Major perceived aggravating factors of acne were oily (46%) and spicy food (31%), friction (45%), stress (32%), tea/coffee (23%), chocolates (19%), and excessive sweating (18%). Most of the patients (56%) believed acne heals itself, followed by increased intake of water (29%) and the use of medication (26%). The majority of these patients were unsure about the effects of marriage (70%) and pregnancy (87%) on acne. 85% of participants believed that acne should be treated by a dermatologist. The major sources of information about acne were the internet (44%), friends (27%), society (15%), and parents (14%). Conclusion: Misconceptions about acne vulgaris are present in its patients. Accessible and accurate community-based education programs can help increase awareness. Media being the most commonly used source of information can play a vital role. This will improve patient compliance leading to effective treatment of the disease itself and management of psychosocial problems associated with it.
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