The risk factors for someone developing a mental illness like depression can be complex and tend to vary between each individual. There are many different circumstances that can lead someone to develop depression including genetic predisposition, issues of trauma and a number of other risks. Recently it has been discovered that there is a substantial link between a person having acne and an increased risk for depression.
Skin conditions in general can have an impact on mental health and acne has proven to negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and emotional well-being. The risk for depression tends to be higher within the first year of experiencing a condition like acne and can decrease after a period of time. When a person first discovers they have acne it may cause them to feel more negatively about their appearance which in turn can affect their mental health.
Intuitively, people understand that skin problems can change a person’s mood but research has confirmed that the connection between acne and depression is significant. It may be helpful for doctors and dermatologists to be aware of the risk for depression as well as people who are suffering from acne problems. Whatever age a skin condition like acne begins, it is possible for depression to develop as a result.
Depression and Skin Problems
Recent studies have shown that in the first year after being told by a doctor that they have acne, a patient’s risk for developing depression increases by more than 60 percent compared with the general population. Having acne can make people more self-conscious and fearful of being judged about their appearance. Those feelings can lead to low self-esteem, anxiousness and depression.
A person’s skin and particularly their face are a part of what they present to the world, and people often aim for perfection. Acne is a skin condition that can make it very difficult for people to achieve the appearance that they want to present to others. With redness, spots and unhealthy looking skin people with acne, especially teens, may find it hard to feel comfortable with themselves and can become shy or withdrawn.
Although acne is most often associated with teens, there are plenty of adult sufferers of acne that also deal with depression as a result of their skin problems. In fact about two thirds of acne patients are adults, not teenagers, who are struggling to improve the appearance of their skin. About 10 percent of female adult acne patients are also experiencing depression symptoms.
Teens can struggle with depression as a result of their acne because they be bullied or made fun of for their skin issues. Their anxiety about their peers’ perception of them can result in depression over time. Acne can make teens feel as though they are standing out and people are seeing them in a negative light.
How Treating Acne and Depression can Help Mental Health
A person having acne and suffering from depression can cause a cycle that influences both problems to worsen. The patient’s acne may cause them to feel depressed and their depression can make it harder for them to eat right or follow their doctor’s recommendations for skin care. Their acne may grow worse because of depression and anxiety about they way they look.
Treating both issues can influence both problems to resolve because they are connected in many different ways. A person experiencing a bout of depression or anxiety may cause them to break out or their acne flare ups can make them feel more depressed. By addressing both issues they can improve their skin while also building up self-esteem and reducing feelings of depression.
If an acne patient is careful to follow their dermatologist’s suggestions for taking care of their skin they may see the condition improve. Getting treatment for a therapist for depression can help them to feel better about themselves which may make it easier for their acne treatments to be successful. A therapist can help a patient see more positive qualities in themselves outside of their appearance so that they can improve their self-esteem in multiple ways.
Over time depression related to acne problems can dissipate as the risk for mental illness is highest in the first year and remains elevated for about five years. Acne in teens can clear up as they get older and their self-esteem may improve as they enter college and begin to redefine themselves in other ways. Adults with acne may gradually find treatments that work for them and their depression will gradually decrease.
For those struggling with acne and depression, seeking help for both can increase the likelihood that you can recover from low self-esteem and feelings of anxiousness. Talk to a therapist about feelings of depression and see a dermatologist to improve your overall mental and physical health.