Pattern to the Zit Madness

Acne facial patterns commonly cover certain parts of the face

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Zits, pimples and blackheads seem to appear randomly at the wrong place and at the wrong time for teens. But there may be a pattern to where the acne pops up.

A recently published study found that the most common patterns of facial acne in young men covered the chin, side of the nose or the whole face.

The study is the first of its kind to investigate acne patterns on the body, according to the researchers.

Blackheads affected the entire face and were often more intense, while those with inflammatory acne often had up to five pimples.

"Keep your skin clean."

The aim of the study, led by Rodrigo Duquia, MS, from the Postgraduate Program at the Catholic University of Pelotas in Brazil, was to investigate the most common patterns of facial and trunk acne in young men in southern Brazil.

The study included 2,201 18-year-old males submitting to a required medical screening at a military service headquarters.

The teens underwent a skin examination conducted by a dermatologist who identified and tracked all non-inflammatory and inflammatory lesions on the skin.

Non-inflammatory lesions or open comedones are commonly called blackheads, which are small dark spots on the skin cause by a plug in a pore. Inflammatory lesions include papules, or small bumps on the skin, and pimples.

In total, almost 90 percent of the men had acne. Non-inflammatory lesions were found on 1,487 individuals, while 1,497 reported having inflammatory lesions.

Acne that covered the areas next to the nose, on the chin or on the entire face were the most common acne patterns, the researchers found.

The majority of patients with pimples and pustules had between one and five lesions on their body. The number of blackheads varied depending on the area of the body where they were located.

Non-inflammatory acne was also found on about 18 percent of patients' backs and on their chests in 6 percent.

Inflammatory acne was found on the backs and chests of about 40 percent and 4 percent of the patients, respectively.

The researchers said that acne has a great impact on a person's quality of life.

"Although acne is not associated with severe morbidity, mortality, or physical disability, it can nevertheless have considerable psychological and social consequences," the researchers wrote in their report.

The authors noted their results may not be generalizable to other populations since they only studied men of a single age. They also did not determine risk of acne and factors that could cause acne.

The study was published online April 17 in the International Journal of Dermatology. No conflicts of interest or funding was declared.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 21, 2013
Last Updated:
November 12, 2013