Although acne is a skin condition, its effects are more than skin deep. As many people will attest, acne can lower your self-esteem, rock your self-confidence and negatively impact your life.
Interestingly, the severity of acne doesn't seem to matter. Some people with severe acne seem to take their skin problems in stride. Other individuals may be deeply affected by mild breakouts.
Of course, not everyone with acne will develop self-esteem issues, but here are three warning signs that should always be taken seriously. If you or your child displays any of these signs, please talk with your doctor right away.
Avoiding Social Situations
It's OK if you don't always feel like being the life of the party, but avoiding going out with friends, finding excuses to not attend family functions or generally having little interest in socializing with others may be warning signs that acne is seriously affecting your life.
Some people find it hard to show their face to the world, because they are so uncomfortable with their acne. It's hard to interact with others when you're feeling so unconfident and embarrassed about your skin. Shying away from social situations, though, is a signal that you need help dealing with your acne.
Talk with your doctor not only about acne treatment options, but also about how your acne is impacting your life. He/she can help.
Experiencing Anxiety or Depression
Acne can be especially tough during adolescence, when teens are developing a sense of self. Don't think, though, that acne only affects the way teens view themselves. Some studies have found that adults are more likely than teens to say acne negatively impacts their quality of life.
Whatever your age, acne can make you feel unconfident and helpless. The good news is, effective acne treatment can help to a great extent.
It's when acne affects your life to the point that you're feeling depressed, anxious, worthless or extremely preoccupied with your skin, that you should seek help. Take your feelings seriously, and know that it's OK to ask for help.
Having Thoughts of Suicide
If you are thinking about hurting yourself, please tell somebody (your doctor, a close friend or family member, your clergy person or a suicide help hotline) now.
If you know someone who is considering suicide, find help right away.
One study has shown approximately 35% of teens with bad acne have thought about suicide, and more than 10% have actually tried to kill themselves.
There may be other factors at work, besides acne, that cause someone to have suicidal tendencies. Whatever the cause, though, it is a desperate cry for help and should always be taken seriously. Don't wait to get help.
Sources: Yazici K, Baz K, Yazici AE, Köktürk A, Tot S, Demirseren D, Buturak V. "Disease-specific quality of life is associated with anxiety and depression in patients with acne." J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2004; 18:435-9.
Aktan S, Ozmen E, Sanli B. "Anxiety, depression, and nature of acne vulgaris in adolescents." Int J Dermatol 2000; 39:354-7.
Koo JY, Smith LL. "Psychologic aspects of acne." Pediatr Dermatol 1991; 8:185-8.
Purvis, D., Robinson, E., Merry, S., & Watson, P. "Acne, anxiety, depression and suicide in teenagers: a cross-sectional survey of New Zealand secondary school students." Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 2006; 42(12): 793-796.