Why can Acne Cause Depression?

Acne is more than just a teenage phase.

Many people who suffer from acne deal with it throughout their adult lives.

And anyone who has ever had a skin issue knows that it is about more than just appearances — serious skin conditions and acne alike can have both mental and emotional effects.

While the physical aspects of acne are easily noticeable, issues such as reduced self-esteem, decreased self-image and increased anxiety often go undiagnosed and untreated.

According to the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, acne is also associated with higher rates of depression, social isolation, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Women and individuals with severe acne are most commonly affected, but acne can have significant negative impacts on anyone’s mental health.

Defining Acne

Acne is a painful and sometimes debilitating skin condition. Acne occurs when hair follicles and pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Blocked pores trap bacteria and are vulnerable to infection The pores can then become red, swollen and pus-filled.

Acne most frequently occurs on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Severe flare-ups can heal slowly and leave scarring, especially in cases of deep nodules and cystic acne.

There is no one cause for acne, which helps make it challenging to treat.

Acne and Depression

According to a recent study, those with acne are at a much higher risk for depression in the first years after the condition appears

The 15-year study, recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology, showed the likelihood of developing depression was 18.5 percent among those with acne compared to 12 percent in those who do not have acne.

In the United States, approximately 85 percent of adolescents and two-thirds of adults over the age of 18 struggle with acne.

The risk of developing depression was highest in the first year when there was a 63 percent increased chance of depression in a person with acne compared to someone without acne. The increased risk persisted for up to five years after diagnosis.

Mental health issues and social impact can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor body image and self-esteem
  • A feeling of isolation
  • Reluctance to establish relationships
  • Poorly developed social skills
  • Fear of ridicule
  • Extreme shyness
  • Missed school or work
  • Career difficulties related to low confidence
  • Overall decreased quality of life

Acne can Make You Self Conscious

People with acne may feel unattractive and self-conscious. These feelings prevent teens from engaging socially, trying out for sports, getting a job or participating in class. Kids may be bullied by peers, leaving them isolated and lowering their self-esteem.

Studies have found that teenagers living with acne are at a greater risk for anxiety and depression and are even more likely to attempt suicide.

Anyone affected by acne who has concerns about their mental health should be taken seriously.

Seeking Treatment for Acne

The longer a person is coping with acne, the more likely it is to affect emotional and mental health. Without treatment, acne can become severe and leave lingering scars. Early treatment can clear the skin and prevent acne from worsening or scarring.

If your acne resists treatment with over-the-counter acne treatments, there are other options.

Laser treatments and chemical peels can heal and prevent acne while improving the appearance of acne scarring.

At Blush, we take a highly personalized approach to determining the causes of your acne and creating a custom program for your skin type and needs. Our goal is not just to heal and eliminate your acne, but to create beautiful skin with long-term results. Treatments include:

  • Forever Clear BBL™ delivers light energy deep into your skin to eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation while stimulating the regeneration of healthy cells.
  • Dermalinfusion tones and exfoliates skin while it suctions away dead skin that can clog pores. Dermalinfusion can treat acne on the face, neck, chest and back.
  • Skincare regimens can reduce the frequency and severity of acne. Blush offers a line of our own skincare products that can be added to your daily regimen to improve acne every day.

In some cases, prescription oral and topical medications can eliminate acne and prevent future breakouts.

Treating Acne and Depression

Dealing with depression brought on by acne requires treating both conditions and focusing on your health inside and outside.

Among acne sufferers over 18, 70 to 80 percent use self-prescribed topical treatments, but only between 5 and 28 percent seek care from a dermatologist. Patients with moderate-to-severe acne are more likely to pursue medical intervention but may wait an average of about two years to seek professional help.

Depression and any discussion or thought of suicide should always be taken seriously. It is important to be on the lookout for signs of depression and treat it as quickly as possible. Healing acne will help diminish its emotional effects.

If you are having mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety linked to acne, a mental health professional can help. Treatment for depression may include psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group or individual counseling sessions or prescription antidepressants.

If your quality of life and self-esteem are impacted by acne, treatment can help you look and feel better.

Schedule your consultation at Blush to learn more about improving your physical and mental health for a happier life.