We need to talk about how acne affects mental health

Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of, at least once, getting a massive zit and feeling incredibly self-conscious about it. For people who deal with this on a daily basis, chronic acne can affect their mental health — and, no, it’s not because of vanity. Chronic breakouts can leave your self-esteem on the floor and lead to disorders including anxiety and depression.

Chronic acne has been linked to anxiety and, in extreme cases, suicide. Mental health side effects are hardly uncommon — a major study found that individuals who experience daily breakouts are two to three times more likely to develop depression.

A separate report from the British Skin Foundation found that one in five people who deal with chronic acne has contemplated suicide.

One of the major reasons that chronic acne leads to anxiety and depression is because it causes people to isolate.

"Skin disorders tend to isolate," clinical psychotherapist Matt Traube tells Seventeen. "When you already feel hopeless and embarrassed, that can only intensify those feelings."


Luckily, there are treatment options for both chronic acne and the mental health problems it can cause.

Dermatologists can provide treatment options, and therapists can arm you with coping skills to manage anxiety and depression — something that will benefit you long after your acne clears up.

"You can lessen the severity of your depression symptoms if they are addressed early on," says psychologist Jennifer Gentile.

If you’re feeling depressed and hopeless due to chronic acne, the best course of action is to find a reputable, empathetic dermatologist and therapist — no one deserves to suffer and feel isolated due to the self-esteem issues caused by the condition.

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