Acne skin and its psychosocial impact

DELVING DEEPER, SELF-CONFIDENCE

The emotional impact of acne skin

Appearance is important to all of us, especially in today’s society where first impressions count for so much. The way we look influences the way people look at us. The skin is the part of the body that is most visible, and it plays a big part in how we appear to others. Acne rears its ugly head on the skin and affects how we look; the effect acne skin has on appearance is one of the most bothersome aspects of the disease. As acne generally affects the face, it can cause emotional issues, both in older and younger people.

Although some people consider acne to be a cosmetic problem, it may have a deeper impact with significant and long-lasting emotional and psychological effects. In fact, the negative effect acne has on emotional well-being and social function has been reported to be greater than that of people with more ‘serious’ medical conditions such as asthma, epilepsy and diabetes. Acne can negatively affect your mood, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships and may even be so bad that it can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

People suffering from acne skin tend to feel angry, hostile, depressed, isolated, and anxious. Acne on the face can affect your self-image, your psychological well-being, and your ability to develop social relationships or fit in with the crowd. Acne can make people feel less confident, more self-conscious around other people, frustrated, and embarrassed. Younger people with skin problems also face teasing and stigmatisation from their friends and peers.

Dealing with acne skin

Generally the worse the skin is, the more self-conscious a person is likely to be about their appearance. Feeling self-conscious when your skin is clear is one thing, but people with acne may feel so uncomfortable that they avoid eye contact, grow their hair long to cover their faces and girls may often use make-up to cover up unsightly pimples. The younger the person is when they developed their acne, the more stress they are likely to feel about the effect it has on their relationships and the way it impacts their daily life.

Acne skin can also affect the way a person is able to live their normal everyday lives. It can affect how teenagers perform socially and academically, affecting school performance. Almost half of people with acne report difficulty concentrating at work or school ‘some’ or ‘all of the time’ because of their acne.

The good news is that there are effective acne products available, although sometimes this treatment takes time to work. Effective acne treatment works to clear acne spots which can dramatically improve your quality of life. However, it is good to watch out for your peers. If you or someone you know with acne feels unusually sad or has other symptoms of depression, such as loss of appetite, loss of interest in once-loved activities, or trouble concentrating, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional.

 

References:

  1. Vilar GN, Filho JFS, dos Santos LA. Quality of life, self-esteem and psychosocial factors in adolescents
    with acne vulgaris. An Bras Dermatol. 2015;90(5):622-9.
  2. Gollnick H, Cunliffe W, Berson D, Drew B, Finlay A, Leyden JJ, et al. Management of Acne. A Report From the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne. J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;49(1):S1-S37.
  3. Tanghetti EA, Kawata AK, Daniels SR, et al. Understanding Acne the Burden of Adult Female Acne. J Clin
    Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(2):22–30.
  4. Dunn LK, O’Neill JL, Feldman SR. Acne in Adolescents: Quality of life, self esteem, mood, and psychological disorders. Dermatol Online J 2011;17 (1): 1
  5. Do JE, Cho S-M, In S-I, et al. Psychosocial Aspects of Acne Vulgaris: A Community-based Study with Korean Adolescents. Ann Dermatol 2009;21(2):125-129
  6. Tasoula E, Chalikias J, Danopoulou I, et al. The impact of acne vulgaris on quality of life and psychic health in young adolescents in Greece. Results of a population survey. An Bras Dermatol.
    2012;87(6):862-9.
  7. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Conditions. Acne. NIH Publication No.
    15-4998. Available from URL: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Acne/. Cited 23 February 2016.
Lauren_epoch

Written by Lauren Espach
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