Survey results identify race-related differences in information sources and acne treatments that can improve adherence.first

Roopal V. Kundu, MD, the study’s lead author and professor of dermatology and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, said the findings also have implications for increase satisfaction with treatments and doctor care.

“Dermatologists are well trained and knowledgeable in forging deep and meaningful connections with our patients to treat not only the dermatological aspects of diseases,” says Kundu. dermatological but also psychosocial effects. “Our research [shows] that the cultural and social structure of patients may influence their management preferences for acne. Understanding these incentives will allow us to improve the care provided to all of our patients. ”

The adult cross-sectional study, conducted by Kundu in collaboration with Monica Mehta, MD, a research intern at Feinberg, found that groups of patients with different stages of acne exhibited a preference They have different preferences in favoring topical or oral medications, and have often tried different homeopathic and OTC remedies.

“Despite many studies in the literature describing how health perceptions and skin disease burdens vary across races and cultures, there appears to be little research exploring the differences,” said Kundu. differences in preferred treatment attributes.

Kundu and Mehta designed a 31-item online survey to collect data on demographics, acne severity, treatment preferences and adherence, perceptions of acne causes, and treatment valuation. Approximately 1200 18- to 73-year-olds with self-reported acne were submitted to the survey, and 214 returned a complete questionnaire.

Whites made up the majority of the study population (67%), followed by South Asians (13.8%), East Asians (12.4%) and Blacks (8.7%). The rest are of mixed race or other race. Women make up 85% of the population.

The answers regarding treatment vary. White respondents were significantly more likely to visit a healthcare professional for treatment than East Asians and South Asians (88% [n = 126] compared to 44%[n=12]; P0.001 and (53%)[n=16]; P = 0.002, respectively.

Caucasians (27%, n=39) preferred a prescription cleanser/cream/gel, while East Asians (41%, n=11), South Asians (60%, n=18) and Skin black (37%, n=7) of respondents preferred OTC cleansers/creams/gels.

Kundu said Caucasians are less likely to prefer OTC products (20% vs 36%-60%) and are more likely to use a variety of prescription treatments, including topicals, oral antibiotics, birth control pills and isotretinoin.

East Asians (63%) [n = 17]) are less likely to receive information from healthcare professionals (P = .03). This group is more likely (93% [n = 25]) to get information about the causes and treatment of acne from the internet compared to all other races (P = .04), and 56% seek recommendations from family and friends.

Whites go to health care professionals more often than the Internet (87% vs. 74%), so do South Asians (77% vs. 60%). About three-quarters of blacks said they prefer both healthcare professionals and the internet as a source.

According to Kundu, studies are underway or planned to further look at the preferred treatments and resources available to patients with acne, and to explore racial and cultural preferences. for the treatment of skin aging, vitiligo and keloids, according to Kundu.

“Differences exist in acne treatment perceptions and preferences across races, and exploring them can enhance service providers’ understanding of their patients’ preferences.” Kundu said. “Health care organizations and professionals may need to use the internet and social media to reach non-Caucasian populations.”


Kundu and Mehta reported no related disclosures or financial interests.


1. Mehta M, Kundu RV. Racial differences in acne treatment preferences: a cross-sectional study. J Drug Dermatol. 2020;19(12):802. doi:10.36849/ JDD.2020.5488


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