Feb 27, 2018

At 22, acne remains to be one of the battles I have to face every day. When I see my face in the mirror, I always ask myself why they appeared recently instead of pestering me back in high school or college. And then, after a while you’ll realize that it’s just part of growing up and you stop stressing over it. But that’s not the case for everyone.

In a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, researchers found a link between acne and the increased risk of depression. According to them, individuals who suffer from acne are more vulnerable to clinical depression than the rest of the population.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Isabelle Vallerand, lead author of the study, told Reuters that they got the idea to study the link after researchers studied the connection between acne medication isotretinoin and psychiatric disorders. Fortunately, the acne medication does not contribute to mental disorders. But Vallerand’s team still explored the connection between acne itself and depression.

We all know how acne can change one’s mood and outlook in life, but Vallerand’s team is interested in the relationship between that and “true clinical depression.” For around 15 years, the researchers followed groups of people with newly diagnosed acne and those without it.

“…[health care providers] should encourage any of their patients with acne to feel comfortable raising any mental health concerns to their attention, as these should be taken seriously.”

“We found that acne increased the risk of developing clinical depression by 63 percent in the first year following an acne diagnosis and that this risk remained elevated for five years after the initial acne diagnosis,” Vallerand said.

With these results, the researchers behind the study encourage doctors treating acne patients to keep an eye out not only on their patient’s skin condition but also on how their mood changes. “We believe that healthcare providers treating patients with acne should firstly be aware that acne is a risk factor for developing major depressive disorder and that they should encourage any of their patients with acne to feel comfortable raising any mental health concerns to their attention, as these should be taken seriously.”

Photo courtesy of Silakbo PH’s Facebook page

We all know how acne can affect one’s self-esteem, but we must also remember that it’s not only what’s on the outside that matters. Mental health is something we should take seriously. If we are aware that we’re vulnerable to any mental disorder, remember that there are always people out there who are willing to help. And if you know someone who’s at risk, reach out.

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

Read more:
This is how you can stay mentally healthy at work
Remembering Ren Hang: the eroticism of mental health
It’s about time we stop using the words ‘schizophrenic’ and ‘bipolar’ as insults

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