Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) remains the most common inflammatory dermatosis treated worldwide, as estimated by global skin disease prevalence studies. Latest reports suggest that the prevalence may be increasing in adolescents and adults, particularly female adults. The concept of ‘burden of skin disease’ is multidimensional and can be difficult to quantify in light of different healthcare systems across the globe. In acne, the resulting burden may vary according to patient demographics, access to treatments and duration of the disease. The visible nature of acne, symptoms and sequelae all contribute physically and psychosocially to the overall burden of disease, as do the costs required for management. Acne typically presents in adolescence at a time of significant transition. Profound effects on functional status have been demonstrated, along with a strong impact on interpersonal relationships, social functioning and mental health. The high prevalence of acne also presents an economic burden for society. The widespread and prolonged use of antibiotics introduces a potential added burden through resulting antimicrobial resistance. A James Lind Alliance Acne Priority Setting Partnership has identified numerous areas to inform future research, which would help to improve acne management and reduce the burden. The lack of standardized assessments is a major issue in acne trials and challenges the ability to compare treatments and perform meta-analyses. This paper reviews the current literature on burden of acne, identifies areas of treatment uncertainties and summarizes the work of the Acne Core Outcome Research Network as a means of supporting a reduction in the burden of disease.
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