Acne And Depression


Acne sufferers are well aware of the fact that acne causes more than just blackheads, whiteheads, and red bumps.
It has psychological, emotional and social repercussions, which might not be understood by someone who have never suffered from acne breakouts.

Acne may leave its sufferer feeling isolated and anxious about others noticing their breakouts.

Due to this, a general reduction in the quality of life as well as other emotional and psychological effects of acne like low self-esteem, low self-confidence, social dysfunction, anxiety, acne dysmorphic disorder, and depression can stem from such acne conditions.

Teenagers also tend to get affected by acne, and the emotional travails experienced by teenagers can be more compared to adults.
Teenagers tend to be more sensitive in their external appearance and the judgments of their peer group.

Since, certain factors like external appearance and conformity tend to be highly valued, any teenager suffering from acne may feel ostracized and socially devalued from their peers leading to higher prevalence of anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, social withdrawal, and low self-esteem.

Emotional and psychological effects of acne:

Acne can cause lifelong emotional and psychological consequences. It affects the way people think about themself. The emotional and psychological impact of acne includes

1. Quality of life:
Acne is known to affect the quality of life significantly. Quality of life is the degree of satisfaction or enjoyment experienced in everyday life. Studies have indicated that, older adults with acne reported greater deficits compared to their younger counterparts, in terms of quality of life.

2. Impaired self-esteem:
Low self-esteem is often a big problem with acne sufferers, especially those with the onset of acne breakouts during their adolescence. Many people who have acne say that their skin condition makes them feel bad about themselves. They blame everything on themselves and may even be reluctant when it comes to taking responsibilities.

Acne sufferers with low self-esteem may have some of the following characteristics, which include:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Excessive self-consciousness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Obsession with appearance
  • Difficulty in making friendship or forming close relationships
  • Feeling of easily hurt
  • Perfectionism
  • Social withdrawal or discomfort in social situations
  • Fear of doing new things or taking chances.

Acne sufferers with low self-esteem may miss work or school, and can result in absenteeism or lower grades.

3. Depression :
Chronic acne sufferers may develop depression due to the continuous struggle that acne imposes on them. Depression associated with severe acne condition is characterized by helplessness, guilty, unworthy, and feeling sad.

Misconceptions about what exactly causes acne may make the acne sufferers feel shameful or embarrassed.
They lack motivation and energy, and feel fatigued most of the time. Prolonged suffering from teasing and unavoidable embarrassment may eventually lead the individual in to clinical depression.

4. Anxiety:
Acne and anxiety are closely related to each other. Those who are suffering from acne can develop anxiety disorders very easily. According to a study that appeared in the British Journal of Dermatology, 40 percent of people with acne suffer from anxiety.

Those with anxiety disorders can have repeated flashbacks of traumatic experience, uncontrollable excessive thoughts, sleep disturbances, nightmares, muscular tension, digestive problem, jitteriness, excessive worries, apprehension over real or imagined situations, and fear.

5. Acne dysmorphic disorder:
Acne dysmorphic disorder is a psychological effect that is characterized by excessive stress and anxiety, and the person spends a reasonable amount of time on focusing, pricking, checking appearance on the mirror, grooming, comparing it with others, hiding the imperfection, constantly seeking reassurance with others about it, and sometimes even getting repeated cosmetic procedures.

6. Social withdrawal:
Society puts a strong emphasis on one’s appearance. School students and even adults suffer from the social impact caused by acne. The social impact that acne imparts on the individual tends to keep them away from the society and choose not to socialize with anyone purposely. Social isolation may be in the form of avoiding classes or work, dates, and even social gatherings.

But why do acne sufferers isolate themselves from society? Because, most acne sufferers are plagued with severe depression, frustration, embarrassment, anger, and poor body image. The emotional and psychological effects of acne have a crippling effect on individual’s social life, which discourages him/her to pursue life’s opportunities scholastically, socially, and even in the work force.


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