Acne and Self-Esteem: What the Research Says

Acne and Self-Esteem: What the Research Says

People will go to great lengths to achieve clear skin for a very simple reason: their self-esteem takes a hit with every blemish that forms. This seems obvious to anybody who has suffered acne, but the fortunate few with perfect skin don't understand the depths of despair reached during a typical breakout.

Many people have experienced the mental health issues associated with acne first-hand, but recent research lends greater credence to the theory that severe anxiety and depression are linked to acne. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between acne and poor mental health:

Self-Esteem Suffers More With Severe Acne

Most people can get over one or two small pimples; huge cysts bother sufferers most. A 2016 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology confirmed what those with painful cysts have long suspected: people with severe acne feel far worse about their skin problems than those with mild blemishes. Unfortunately, this acne-induced mental suffering influenced every aspect of study participants' lives, including clothing choices, social activities, friendships...even sexual behavior. The worse their acne, the less these individuals engaged with loved ones.

Acne Drugs and Depression

Previously, many people worried about a potential link between common acne drugs and suicide risk. However, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that prescription drugs are not responsible for the increased risk of depression and suicide among those with acne — rather, acne itself causes these problems. Sadly, of the 5,700 patients highlighted in the study, 128 were admitted to hospitals following suicide attempts.

Figures the study suggest that just one of every 2,300 patients taking isotretinoin will attempt suicide. That being said, prescription drugs for acne can cause a variety of other side effects, so many people prefer to try skincare options first.

How to Deal With Poor Self-Esteem Caused By Acne

As the notorious cliche claims, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A targeted skincare regimen can help you avoid most breakouts, thereby ending a cycle of stress that only leads to more acne. This is little comfort, however, when you're actively dealing with whiteheads or cysts. Unfortunately, after you've completed your skincare routine for the day, there's little solution beyond waiting it out.

You may feel tempted to retreat from friends and family and hide out at home, but this approach will only make you feel more isolated and depressed. Instead, play with makeup; numerous products allow you to hide even the reddest, most sizable blemishes, making them virtually undetectable to everybody else. Wear your hair down if it covers blemishes, or wear a bright shade of lipstick to distract yourself and others.

Meditate to clear your head of acne anxiety. Acknowledge your skin-based worries, and then let them float away. Finally, head out into the world, confident that you care far more about your acne than anybody else. You'll be surprised how effectively a little makeup and a good support system can reduce your acne anxiety.