Can Depression Cause Acne? Mental Health & Skincare
Everyone feels down now and then. But when persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and apathy are present, it can be indicative of depression.
Depression has also been associated with weight gain, inability to concentrate, and in extreme cases, thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide.
It’s critical to talk to a psychiatrist if you’re worried about your mental health. Depression can have severe long-term side effects.
And a lot of people may not even realize the impact depression has on their skin.
The Relationship Between Acne and Depression
Credit: Carillion Living
Depression can occur as a result of hormonal imbalances.
That’s why mental illness often comes hand-in-hand with childbirth, menopause, and thyroid issues.
Alterations in your body’s hormone levels can also affect your skin.
Hormonal fluctuations can cause your skin to produce an excess of sebum. That’s why teens tend to get acne while going through puberty.
Sebum is the oily substance your skin creates that can trap bacteria and other debris.
As time goes on, this leads to inflammations within the skin, causing pimples and other blemishes.
It can end up becoming kind of a vicious cycle. Depression increases your risk of acne.
In turn, acne can make you more self-conscious about your appearance, leading to negative thoughts.
Can Depression Contribute to Acne?
Credit: Psychiatry Advisor
Depression can absolutely aid in the formation of acne in more ways than just hormonal.
It hits everyone differently, but many people have trouble with self-care in a depressive state.
A bout of depression may make it tough to get out of bed, take a shower, and wash your face.
Regular cleanings are crucial for scrubbing away dirt on the skin that could lead to acne.
People’s diets can also suffer from depression. Some people overeat, and if you eat the wrong things, like tomatoes, it could result in acne breakouts.
However, some people tend to not eat enough when dealing with depression. Talk to your doctor immediately if you have any changes within your appetite.
How Does Acne Affect Mental Health?
Acne can severely degrade an individual’s mental health. It can lead to someone having a poor body image.
A person’s mental health can deteriorate further if they retreat from social activities.
Many people with extreme acne choose to stay home rather than go out with friends.
They may be self-conscious about asking someone out on a date due to how they perceive themselves.
Unfortunately, acne can also result in bullying, especially with teenagers.
There isn’t a shortage of nicknames bullies have come up with over the years for people with extreme acne.
What is Psychodermatology?
Psychodermatology is a relatively new medical discipline that focuses on the interplay present between the mind and the skin.
The skin responds to both internal and external stimuli. Similar to how humidity outside impacts your skin, what’s going on inside your body affects it, too.
Psychodermatology takes a comprehensive approach to clearing away acne. You may receive medication to eliminate blemishes, but treatment doesn’t end there.
You may also be advised to speak with a therapist to discuss the issues impacting your mental health.
There may not be a cure for depression and anxiety, but they can be managed.
How to Treat Your Acne
There are numerous ways to try to get rid of acne. To start, you can try washing your face with a good moisturizer and watch what you eat.
In the event your acne doesn’t respond to mild treatment, you may need to talk to your dermatologist about getting a prescription.
Antibiotics can help reduce the presence of bacteria on the skin. Isotretinoin and anti-androgen agents have also been proven to be useful.
If that still doesn’t work, then you may want to look into more extreme treatments. Chemical peels, steroid injections, and light therapies are often saved for when other methods have failed.
Landau, Elizabeth. “How acne and depression feed each other.” CNN, 29 Nov. 2010. https://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/29/acne.depression/index.html
“Causes of Depression.” Healthline, 19 Jun. 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/causes
Jafferany, Mohammad MD. “Psychodermatology: When the Mind and Skin Interact.” Psychiatric Times, 8 Dec. 2011. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/psychodermatology-when-mind-and-skin-interact