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Classification of Acne

  • Gerd PlewigAffiliated withKlinik und Poliklinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie Klinikum München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • , Albert M. KligmanAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania

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Nosology does not rank high among the interests of acne researchers. Yet the lack of a common international standard for classifying and grading the severity of acne has been a distressing source of confusion and controversy. The result is that epidemiological data and classifications from different sources cannot be compared because the criteria are different. This adversely affects every field of investigation, for example, surveys concerning the prevalence of acne in different countries. At present we have no information about whether acne is more prevalent in meat eaters than in vegetarians, in cold climates compared with warm ones, in different ethnic groups, etc. What dermatologists may classify as severe acne in Japan might be considered mild by American dermatologists.