C. Felmingham 1 , A. Kerr2, E. Veysey3
Background: Acne Vulgaris can have a signiﬁcant ﬁnan- cial impact on patients. Prior to consulting a dermatologist, patients with acne will often try multiple over-the-counter (OTC) products for acne prevention, treatment, and cover- up. We aimed to determine the total ﬁnancial costs incurred by patients self-managing their acne; and whether this expenditure was associated with patients’ ﬁnancial income.
Methods: Over a 4-month period in 2019, consecutive new patients referred to a private dermatology clinic with acne were asked to complete a questionnaire. This question- naire asked about household income, acne severity, impact on quality of life, acne-related costs, and reasons for delay in seeking or obtaining a dermatological consultation. Included patients were aged 16 + .
Results: 46/49 patients who met inclusion criteria com- pleted the questionnaire. OTC products were responsible for the greatest expenditure, in both females (84% of spending) and males (68%). Patients spent $850 (average) on acne management in the preceding 6 months. There was no signiﬁcant difference in spending per income bracket (p = 0.51). There was a positive relationship between spending and impact of acne on quality of life (p = 0.02). 40% of patients delayed seeking a dermatology consultation. More than 70% of these patients attributed this delay to cost.
Conclusion: Acne has a signiﬁcant ﬁnancial impact on patients, irrespective of household income. While the cost of a dermatology consultation is often cited as a barrier to treatment, it is likely that seeking a consultation earlier could save patients from unnecessary acne-management costs.