Pain of Acne More Than Skin Deep

From Drugs.com - February 9, 2018

Pain of Acne More Than Skin Deep

FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2018 -- Acne can be emotionally devastating at any age, and new research suggests it could even throw you into a deep depression.

"Our research has shown that patients with acne have a 63 percent increased risk of developing major depressive disorder in their first year following an acne diagnosis, compared to patients without acne," said study author Isabelle Vallerand.

"We also found that this risk remained significantly elevated up to five years following the first acne diagnosis," said Vallerand. She is an epidemiologist with the department of community health sciences at the University of Calgary, in Canada.

"Living with acne may have an impact on an individual's sense of self-worth," Vallerand said. And people of all ages, not just the classic pimple-plagued teen who shies away from socializing, were vulnerable to the agony of acne, she noted.

"Our results suggest that the risk of depression among patients with acne does not depend on age," Vallerand said.

Her team analyzed data collected between 1986 and 2012 by The Health Improvement Network, a British primary care database. The data covered more than 134,000 patients with acne, as well as another 1.7 million patients without acne.

Prior research has already suggested that upwards of one-quarter of all acne sufferers struggle with some mental health issues, the researchers pointed out.

The new study looked at various patient characteristics. After tracking the patients for an average of 15 years, the study found that those with acne faced an 18.5 percent risk for developing clinical depression, compared with just 12 percent among those without acne.

However, the elevated risk was only evident throughout the first five years following an acne diagnosis, and the study did not prove that acne itself causes depression risk to rise.

Still, "we were surprised to find that this risk was substantially high. So this highlights that mental health concerns among patients with acne should be taken seriously, and that treatment for depression among these patients should be started early when needed," Vallerand said.


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