How Acne Affects Your Self-Esteem and What You Can Do About It

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Acne can affect more than just your skin -- it can impact your entire life in very real ways. Your family and friends may not fully understand just how acne influences your self-esteem. Even mild breakouts can make you feel less-than-confidant.

Acne is often thought to be a trivial problem, especially when compared to other diseases. But some studies have shown that people with acne experienced social, psychological, and emotional ramifications at the same level of those with chronic health problems, like epilepsy, diabetes, and arthritis.

Clearly, the emotional consequences of acne shouldn't be taken lightly.

Acne can make you feel depressed.

Having acne can make you feel depressed, angry, anxious, and overwhelmed.  It doesn't matter if your acne is mild or more severe, your feelings are valid.

It also doesn't matter your age.  Adults are just as likely as teens to feel that acne negatively affects their lives -- regardless of how severe their acne is. This may be because their acne has been longer-lasting or resistant to treatment, or because there is a greater social stigma for adults with acne.

Everyone, with or without acne, gets down every once in a while.  But if you're feeling depressed for a prolonged period of time, it's important you talk with a professional. 

What are symptoms of depression?

Acne can impact your social life. 

Our society puts a great emphasis on appearance.  And everyone has something about themselves that they aren't too keen about -- whether it's the shape of the nose or the size of the thighs.


But because acne typically appears on the part of ourselves that we show to the world, our face, having acne can feel doubly tough.  Many people with acne feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about their skin.

The prevalence of myths regarding why acne forms might even lead you to feel a sense of guilt or shame, as if you are somehow responsible for your acne (don't worry, you're not.) 

These feelings can be so strong that they prevent people with acne from doing things they really want to do.  A woman may be so self-conscious of her appearance that she won't pose in family pictures during a reunion. A teenage boy might decline an invitation to go swimming with friends because his back acne embarrasses him.

Some people with acne have trouble looking others in the eye, while others completely avoid all social situations.  If you feel this way, you're definitely not alone.

3 Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

You can improve your self-esteem through treatment -- don't wait!

Acne doesn't have to rule your life.  The first step is to get help right away.  Treatment itself can help bring about a more positive attitude, even if you've struggled with acne for years. Many people experience a significant improvement of self-esteem and quality of life with the improvement of acne.

Find a dermatologist who is sympathetic and willing to address the emotional issues that go along with acne. Be honest with your doctor. Let her know if acne is considerably affecting your self-esteem, interfering with your social life, or making you feel depressed or anxious.

Ideally, your self-esteem will improve along with your clearing skin.

  But don't hesitate to get help if you need it. 

Seek out a support system. Having a compassionate person, or group of people, who understand what you are going through can help dispel feelings of isolation and hopelessness.  Having a friend with whom you can talk openly may be just what you need.  But if you need more than just a sympathetic ear, let your doctor know so you can get the help you need.

Taking steps to nurture yourself, while treating your skin, can help bolster your self-image and buoy your self-esteem.  You're not alone -- and things can get better!

Preserving Your Self-Esteem... Despite Acne


Hanna S, Sharma J, Klotz J. "Acne vulgaris: more than skin deep." Dermatology Online Journal. 9 (3): 8.

Lasek RJ, Chren MM. "Acne vulgaris and the quality of life of adult dermatology patients." Archives of Dermatology (1998); 134: 454-458.

Mallon E, Newton JN, Klasson A, Stewart-Brown SL, Ryan TJ, Finlay AY. "The quality of life in acne: a comparison with general medical conditions using generic questionnaires." British Journal of Dermatology (1999); 140 (4): 672-676.

Yazici K, Bas K, Yazici AE, et. al. "Disease-specific quality of life is associated with anxietand depression in patients with acne." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2004); 18 (4): 435-439.

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