More Than Skin Deep: Acne May Increase Risk For Major Depression


People with acne have a significantly higher risk of developing major depression, findings of a new study revealed.

Acne And Depression

Isabelle Vallerand, from the University of Calgary, and colleagues looked at data that included those from The Health Improvement Network, a large database of medical records collected at Primary Care clinics throughout the United Kingdom.

They found that patients with acne are at increased risk of major depression within the first five years of acne diagnosis, albeit the risk was highest within the first year when patients have 63 percent increased odds of suffering from major depression compared with those without acne.

The findings suggest that it is important for doctors to monitor the mood symptoms in individuals with acne and initiate timely treatment for depression. They should also encourage patients to consult with a psychiatrist when necessary.

The researchers said that the findings highlight an important association between skin disease and mental illness.

"It shows just how impactful our skin can be towards our overall mental health," Vallerand said. "For these patients with acne, it is more than a skin blemish--it can impose significant mental health concerns and should be taken seriously."

Dealing With Emotional Impact Of Acne

The American Academy of Dermatology said that people with acne report that their skin makes them feel self-conscious, embarrassed and unattractive, which cause some individuals to avoid socializing with other people, participating in class or getting a part-time job. Teens, in particular, are vulnerable to the emotional impacts of acne.

"Having acne can affect how teens - and even adults - feel about themselves. Many studies have shown that having acne can lead to depression, anxiety, or both," the AAD said. "Studies have also found that clearing acne can relieve depression and anxiety."

Besides getting treatment, there are also other ways to deal with acne.

"When you have acne, you may feel like being by yourself. But it's a much better idea to be around other people," New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe advised. "Being social and being able to share anxiety with friends helps."

Skin Conditions And Depression

Acne is not the only skin condition linked to increased risk for depression. Psoriasis, another skin problem, has long been associated with mental health issues.

People with psoriasis are up to two times more likely to be depressed compared with those who do not have it. In one study, researchers found that almost 20 percent of those with psoriasis suffer from some form of depression.

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