(Adnkronos) – BERLIN, Oct. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — New research reveals that acne significantly influences how individuals are perceived in social settings. Faces with acne are seen as less attractive, trustworthy, confident, successful, dominant and happy, with adult female acne having the strongest negative effect. This ground-breaking research, presented today at the EADV Congress 2023, assessed the effect of different anatomical variants of acne on natural gaze patterns and social perception. The researchers tracked the eye movements of 245 participants who viewed neutral and emotional faces of females with both clear skin and clinically relevant anatomical variants of acne (emotions included 'happy', 'angry' and 'neutral'). Images were rated for acne-related visual disturbance while emotional faces were rated for valence intensity. Separately, a group of 205 online survey respondents were asked to rate the personality traits of the individuals depicted in the images. The survey found that faces with acne were perceived as significantly less attractive, trustworthy, successful, confident and dominant. Notably, the results showed that adult female acne concentrated around the 'U-zone' (around the jawline, mouth and chin) received the lowest scores for attractiveness and was considered the most visually disturbing. Happy faces with female adult acne were also rated as less happy than clear-skin faces. In adults, acne is known to have serious consequences, including a psychological impact, low self-esteem, social isolation and depression. Multiple studies have previously shown how the perception of pejorative physical characteristics can lead to social distress, including social isolation, higher biologic stress and even poorer health. Discussing the study's findings, Dr Marek Jankowski, the lead author of the study, states, "I've consistently seen that adult female acne leads to more social challenges compared to adolescent acne and these findings reaffirm this. However, what was truly surprising was images depicting generalised acne, covering a larger area with more lesions, received more positive ratings than images featuring adult female acne occurring in the 'U-zone'." "Treatment needs to focus on improving the quality of life of patients, not just reducing the surface area impacted by the acne. Unfortunately, this is not currently a goal when treating acne, with therapeutic guidelines still advocating for certain treatment modalities based on the number of lesions, irrespective of their location." "These results clearly emphasise the emotional and psychological burden experienced by individuals with acne", Dr Jankowski adds.
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