Most people spend their teenage and early adulthood grappling with acne. During this period, the skin produces more sebum which, unfortunately, tends to clog the pores and lead to the growth of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. The more sebum is on the skin, the more likely it will cause acne.
About 95% of people between the ages of 11 to 30 will be affected by acne at some point in their lives. It is a common skin condition to the point that there are many effective acne skincare products available in the market right now. The key, however, is finding which products respond to your skin well and prevent another bout of acne to flare up in the future.
In some cases, acne can continue over the age of 35 but, as you grow older, you likely will see the skin condition improve around your mid-20s. The skin produces less sebum as a person ages, which should make acne to occur less frequently.
The Mental Health Consequence of Acne
However, for most kids, the brief period in their lives when they are suffering from acne can negatively impact their self-esteem. Acne is a common source of insecurity among young people, especially girls. Those who have acne typically do not feel confident of their appearance which may affect their enjoyment and quality of life.
They become avoidant of social interactions. It may also have a negative impact on their grades; low self-esteem can lessen a person’s desire to learn and participate in the classroom. It prevents them from doing what they want to do.
Unlike other skin conditions, acne usually occurs on the face and neck. These are areas that are not covered by clothing. Most schools also forbid wearing makeup which can cover up blemishes. Some children grow their hair in order to hide their faces from view.
Acne Can Lead to Mental Health Problems
Acne is more than just an annoyance. It can have dire consequences, too.
Research has shown that people who have experience with acne are most likely to have a mental health condition. In one paper that analyzed records of patients from a primary care database in the United Kingdom from 1986 to 2012, researchers found that people who have acne have a 63% increased risk of developing depression compared to those who have no skin conditions.
Another paper published in 1999 reported that, of 34 participants with acne, 15 were diagnosed with clinical anxiety and six suffer from clinical depression.
These studies only prove that acne has a negative effect on the mental health of children. They are already exposed to restrictive beauty standards that promote clear skin through social media apps like Instagram. Seeing that their peers and idols are “perfect” will only make them feel bad about their skin condition.
How to Improve Self-Esteem Despite Acne
It may be difficult to overcome insecurity, but it is possible. People who suffer from acne should seek the help and expertise of a dermatologist who understands the struggle of having a skin condition. Those who are already showing symptoms of emotional and psychological distress should also meet with a mental health professional for assessment and treatment.
The mental health conditions that stem from acne and other insecurities should be taken seriously, especially among children.
Having a network of supportive friends who would not make fun of acne would also allow a child to gain back their self-esteem. Acne sufferers often get teased and, because of the incorrect beliefs about the skin condition, they feel guilty about having it. Being surrounded by people who encourage rather than tear you down can dispel negative feelings.
Acne is normal and part of most people’s lives. However, it can still severely damage one’s self-esteem which can prevent them from enjoying everything that life has to offer. It may also lead to a diagnosis of mental health conditions so any negative feelings about acne and its impact on appearance should be taken seriously.