No Link Found Between Acne, Malignant Melanoma in Men

A teenage boy inspecting his acne
A teenage boy inspecting his acne
Individuals categorized as overweight or obese had a significantly increased risk for malignant melanoma.

No association exists between acne in late adolescence in men and risk for development of subsequent malignant melanoma (MM), according to results from a recent Swedish registry-based cohort study published in Cancer Epidemiology.

A total of 242,096 men born between 1952 and 1956 who participated in compulsory assessments for Swedish military service conscription in late adolescence, typically at age 18 to 19, were evaluated. A subsequent diagnosis of MM was assessed from immediately after the date of military service conscription through December 31, 2009 (up to age 57). Covariates studied included measures of childhood circumstances and information from adolescence on the presence of acne, physical fitness, cognitive function, body mass index (BMI), and a summary of diagnoses.

Overall, 1058 men received a diagnosis of MM. The presence of acne was not associated with the development of subsequent MM (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.95; 95% CI, 0.61-1.49). Men with parents who were agricultural workers, men who lived in Northern Sweden with lower levels of physical fitness, and men with lower cognitive function had a lower risk for MM. Being overweight and obese (BMI ≥25) was associated with a significantly increased risk for MM in men (adjusted HR 1.39; 95% CI, 1.14-1.71; P =.001).

The investigators concluded that the presence of acne in late adolescence is not likely to confer an increased risk for MM in men. The fact that being overweight or obese was associated with an elevated risk for MM might possibly be due to the increased skin surface area in these individuals.


Mota Garcia T, Hiyoshi A, Udumyan R, Sjöqvist H, Fall K, Montgomery S. Acne in late adolescence is not associated with a raised risk of subsequent malignant melanoma among men. Cancer Epidemiol. 2017;51:44-48.