Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Acne May Blemish Teens' Emotional Lives, Too

Acne May Blemish Teens' Emotional Lives, Too

03/18/11

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- A new review confirms something that teens have always known: pimples, low self-esteem and depression often go hand-in-hand.

While it doesn't prove that blemishes actually cause emotional problems, the analysis of 16 studies suggests that teenage acne outbreaks do more than just boost Clearasil sales.

"Acne has a huge impact on people's lives," said review co-author Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It's something worth treating," he added, and not just because it can lead to permanent scarring.

Feldman said he launched his research at a time when there's a growing interest in how skin diseases might be linked to other conditions. People with psoriasis, for example, may have problems with heart disease, arthritis and mental issues.

Acne, of course, has long been known as a teenage scourge, although pimples can also affect older people. Feldman and his colleagues looked for research into the possible effects of acne on quality of life and mental health in adolescents. They determined that 16 studies were worthy of inclusion in their review; some of the studies included both teenagers and older people.

The review was published in the Dermatology Online Journal.

Overall, it says, the studies suggest that acne "can negatively affect quality of life, self-esteem and mood in adolescents." Acne is also linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

In particular, one study found that 9 percent of teens with acne showed signs of depression, a rate that is three to four times higher than in the general population.

The cause-and-effect issue is a tricky one: the studies don't prove that acne directly causes these problems; it could conceivably be the other way around.

However, "we're not anticipating that depression causes acne," Feldman said, although he thinks stress could exacerbate the skin condition.

The good news is that acne is largely treatable, especially in severe cases. The drug Accutane (isotretinoin) remains available, despite its reputation for having serious side effects, including depression, if not monitored properly. Because of links to birth defects, the drug is also particularly hazardous for women who or pregnant or may become pregnant. "For those patients who take it, it will change their lives," said Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, chief of dermatology at University of Miami School of Medicine.

Those with less severe cases of acne, or those unwilling to take the drug, face a tougher battle, Kirsner said. In those cases, "you don't cure it. You treat it."

There are a variety of acne treatments other than pills, including injections that reduce inflammation and prescription and over-the-counter creams.

What to do? Review co-author Feldman advised acne sufferers to "go ahead and see your doctor to get it treated, a primary care doctor or a dermatologist, before there's scarring or psychological issues."

If you don't have insurance, many dermatologists will offer lower rates, and drug companies may be able to provide assistance too, he said.

More information

For more about acne, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Employee Lois Wille Walks the Simply Well Lifestyle Talk
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >