Fight Acne: The Influence of Social Media Interview with:
Zachary Zinn, MD
Assistant Professor
J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Medicine Children’s
Residency Program DirectorDepartment of Dermatology
Health Sciences Center
Morgantown, WV 
 Dr. Zinn is a member of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology  What is the background for this study?

Response: We noticed that many patients used acne products based on social media recommendations, oftentimes without therapeutic success.  Our goal was to better understand the influence of social media on acne treatment.   This was a survey-based study given to patients presenting to an academic dermatology practice. What are the main findings?

Response: 45% of all surveyed patients, including 54% of women, consulted social media for acne treatment advise.  YouTube and Instagram were the most used social media platforms.  Social media influenced treatment rarely aligned with American Academy of Dermatology treatment guidelines.  Notably, 40% of respondents chose dietary modification, and 19% chose a self-made skin care product based on social media recommendation. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Patients routinely consult social media for acne treatment recommendations.  40% of social media users chose dietary modifications to treat acne, despite insufficient evidence regarding effectiveness.  Dermatologists should be aware of the influence of social media on acne treatment. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The influence of social media on acne treatment is pervasive.  Our study likely underestimates this influence based on study design.  More robust population based studies would be helpful to better quantify the true influence of social media on acne treatment. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Social media will continue to have an important role in acne.  Dermatologists should proactively inquire about social media acne treatment advice and directly address misinformation.  The authors have no relevant disclosures.


Yousaf, A, Hagen, R, Delaney, E, Davis, S, Zinn, Z. The influence of social media on acne treatment: A cross‐sectional survey. Pediatr Dermatol. 2020; 37: 301– 304.


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