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Stigmatizing Attitudes Identified Toward Individuals With Acne

Participants reported less comfort being friends with, hiring, having physical contact, dating someone with severe acne

By Elana Gotkine (HealthDay News) | December 07, 2023

THURSDAY, Dec. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with acne are observed across a range of social and professional scenarios, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in JAMA Dermatology.

Ali Shields, from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional internet survey study to explore the degree of stigma toward individuals with acne. Four stock portraits of adults that varied in sex (male/female) and skin tone (light/dark) were digitally enhanced to have acne (mild/severe); survey participants answered questions regarding stigmatizing attitudes with respect to the image with which they were randomly presented. 

A total of 1,357 respondents completed the survey. The researchers found that participants reported less comfort being friends with, hiring, having physical contact with, dating, and posting a photograph together on social media with those with severe acne compared with those with no acne. Participants were more likely to rate those with severe acne as having poor hygiene and being unattractive, unintelligent, unlikable, immature, and untrustworthy compared with those with no acne. For individuals with dark skin, there was evidence that the effect size of the association of acne with desire to social distance was greater.

"These findings highlight the need to identify approaches to reduce stigmatizing attitudes in the community and for adequate access to care, which might prevent negative downstream effects related to these stigmatizing attitudes," the authors write. 

Two authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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