Teens and acne — the two seem to go together.
While we have long suspected a link between teenage acne and depressive or suicidal thoughts, a new study out of Norway lends additional scientific proof to this link.
Both teenager men and women are at greater risk for suicidal thoughts if they have severe acne — teenage girls are at twice the risk, and teenage boys are at three times greater risk.
The study was conducted on 3,775 Norwegian adolescents aged 18-19, and compared those with acne compared to those with clear skin.
But it gets worse…
The study also found that those with severe acne were twice as likely to have few friends. They were also far more likely to have poor grades, and to have never had sex.
Who knew that acne could be so debilitating? Well, actually, we already did.
For instance, Purvis et al. (2006) conducted a similar study 9,567 New Zealand teenagers. Those researchers found — 4 years ago — that problem acne was also associated with increased depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as increased suicide attempts.
So the latest finding confirms what we already know about acne — it’s a debilitating condition for those who suffer it. So debilitating that it appears to be significantly correlated with suicidal thoughts and depression.
Which brings us to the question we humans always ask — Why?
Probably because our faces are our first impressions, and acne appears most often on a person’s face. It also can be difficult to treat without daily effort, and many teens just don’t have that kind of focus in order to do it. While prescription medications are available to treat it as well, that would be drawing even more attention to the problem — something every teenager seeks to avoid.
Last, acne is one of those nasty self-reinforcing cycle things — the more you worry about it, the more stress it causes and the more acne outbreaks you’re prone to have.
All of which suggests that it would be beneficial to move from treating acne as just a normal part of growing up, to treating it like the normal health condition it is. If successfully treated, I suspect many of these related mental health concerns would soon disappear.
Read the full article: Teen acne ‘doubles risk of contemplating suicide’
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Acne Ups Teen Suicide Risk | World of Psychology (9/21/2010)
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Sep 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2010). Acne Ups Teen Suicide Risk. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/09/19/acne-ups-teen-suicide-risk/