Social Stigma Associated With Adult Facial Acne

Faces with acne rated as less attractive, trustworthy, confident, successful, dominant, and happy

By Lori Solomon (HealthDay News) | October 20, 2023

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Acne patterns significantly influence how individuals are perceived in social settings, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, held from Oct. 11 to 14 in Berlin.

Marek Jankowski, M.D., Ph.D., and Agnieszka Goroncy, Ph.D., from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, investigated the effect of anatomic variants of acne on natural gaze patterns and the resulting impact on social perception of acne patients. The analysis included tracked eye movements from 245 adults viewing neutral and emotional faces with clinically relevant anatomical variants of acne, as well as survey responses from 205 participants.

The researchers found that faces with acne were perceived as significantly less attractive (difference, 1.1593), trustworthy (difference, 0.3549), confident (difference, 0.9573), successful (difference, 0.6220), and dominant (difference, 0.9086). Mid-facial acne showed the smallest perceived differences from healthy faces. T-zone and generalized acne showed the least significant difference in respondents' gaze behavior pattern. There was no significant difference noted in respondents' grading of acne visual disturbance and ratings for attractiveness, successfulness, and trustworthiness. Ratings for most visually disturbing and lowest scores for attractiveness were seen for adult female acne. Compared with clear-skin faces, happy faces with adult female acne were rated as less happy.

"With over a decade of experience in the field, I've consistently seen that adult female acne leads to more social challenges compared to adolescent acne. The findings therefore reaffirm this," Jankowski said in a statement. "However, what was truly surprising was images depicting generalized acne, covering a larger area with more lesions, received more positive ratings than images featuring adult female acne occurring in the 'U-zone.'"

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