Living With Acne

Living with Acne can be quite a challenge for teenagers and youngsters as it directly impacts the appeal and beauty of a person. Moreover, when acne affects the face, it might also lead to some stigma among young children who are yet to know the actual reason behind its eruption. Many at times, people may also feel conscious and loose their self esteem because of their pimples, black heads, cysts and lesions. All these factors contribute to anxiety, depression and low confidence levels for youngsters in today’s social environment that makes it all the more important to know what to expect and how to handle them.

Psychological impact of acne

Acne is often thought to be a trivial problem, especially when compared to other diseases, but a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that acne patients experienced social, psychological, and emotional ramifications at the same levels as those with chronic health problems, such as epilepsy, diabetes, and arthritis. Clearly, the emotional consequences of acne must not be taken lightly.

1.   Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are more common in those with acne than the general population. Interestingly, acne severity does not seem to directly impact the level of depression or anxiety. Those with mild acne are invariably seen experiencing such trauma just like their counterparts who are suffering from more severe cases of acne such as lesions, cysts, boils and skin problems. It is therefore important to know that the dimension of acne does not really matter in the psychological impact that it brings about.

More often, it is merely the presence of acne that is sufficient to serve as a triggering factor for depression and anxiety among peer groups, colleagues and community circles.

2.   Social Withdrawal

In a society that places great emphasis on appearance, acne sufferers often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. The prevalence of myths regarding acne development may even lead to a sense of guilt or shame in their minds, making them feel that they are somehow responsible for the acne in one way or the other. These feelings greatly prevent acne sufferers from interacting socially as they feel uncomfortable in community get-togethers and public meetings and often create the background for them to refrain from communication and indulge in social withdrawal.

For some people, acne influences their daily decisions. Women are no exceptions to this rule.  A woman may be so self-conscious of her appearance that she won’t pose in family pictures during a reunion just because she has a few black heads or pimples on her face. It has been an age old stigma for women often become reserved and less communicative when they have a few pimples, boils or even after marks on their face and skin. Since time unknown women have always been symbolized for beauty and so their appearance is always associated with flawlessness and purity. It is probably this aspect that makes women feel overly conscious when they have acne and makes them feel secluded.

A teenage boy might decline an invitation to go swimming with friends because his back acne embarrasses him. This is just an example to show how teenagers are greatly affected by their acne problems more than any other part of the population. Worsened heights of embarrassment may also lead some to miss their ‘prom’ night in high school or avoid hanging out with friends out of the fear of being teased. Some sufferers have trouble looking others in the eye, while others completely avoid all social situations. This is the kind of impact that acne can create on youngsters who become shy to move their own peer groups.

Acne dysmorphia is a condition many teens experience when they have a heightened notion about their pimple problem. They begin to think low of themselves and even their body image suffers a big blow. Pimples add to this contortion of body image in a large way. Many teenagers, who get afflicted by the zit menace, actually worsen their situation by suffering form acne dysmorphia.

3.   Reduced self esteem

Self esteem usually takes a huge blow when teenagers and youngsters suffer from acne problems. Though they might not share it outright, they usually feel ashamed and embarrassed to certain extent. This affects them greatly and they are no longer able to feel on top of the world. If you have noticed keenly, many of them might also refrain from public outings out of the inherent need to dress up and look good. Losing their image in front of other friends and group mates can be quite a horror film in the words of youngsters who would prefer to strictly refrain from giving themselves an opportunity to be trapped in such situations. At the same time, as a parent, you might want to be informed and know how to help your child. Some simple ways to know if your child is encountering acne anxiety is by looking out for the following symptoms.

  • Self esteem and body image take a sever beating with acne victims.
  • Some embarrassed acne patients avoid eye contact.
  • Some acne sufferers grow their hair long to cover the face.
  • Girls tend to wear heavy make-up to disguise the pimples, even though they know that it could sometimes aggravate the condition.
  • Acne in the trunk can reduce participation in sport such as swimming or rugby because of the need to disrobe in public changing rooms.
  • Social withdrawal/relationship building
  • Acne, especially when it affects the face, provokes cruel taunts from other teenagers.
  • Some find it hard to form new relationships, especially with the opposite sex.

  • At a time when teenagers are learning to form relationships, those with acne may lack the self-confidence to go out and make these bonds. They become shy and even reclusive. The main concern is a fear of negative appraisal by others. In extreme cases a social phobia can develop.

4.   Lack of responsibility and shirking

At schools, colleges and work places, acne leads to a disastrous psychological impact with many young people getting socially handicapped in a severe manner. Signs that someone in your family is undergoing image problems due to acne could include the following.

  • Some refuse to go school leading to poor academic performance and possible future unemployment.
  • Some take days off as “sick days” from work, risking their jobs or livelihood.
  • Acne may reduce career choices, ruling out occupations such as modelling that depend upon personal appearance.
  • Acne patients are less successful in job applications; their lack of confidence playing a key role just as the potential employers’ reaction to their spotty skin. This is the main reason because of which more people with acne problems are unemployed than people who do not have acne.
  • Many young adults with acne seek medical help as they enter the workforce, where they perceive that acne is unacceptable and that they “should have grown out of it by now”.

Battling Acne

If you have acne, you probably worry about scarring. Learning more about acne scars, how scars develop, scar prevention and treatment can help you reason the condition and alleviate yourself from depression and reduced self esteem.

One of the things that you need to know about is that pimples can leave after marks and pigmentation as remnants. This is usually called post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH).

How to treat post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation? Can you prevent your self esteem from dipping further and find a solution to tackle your doubts and dipression?

Mild discolorations can respond to over-the-counter products containing alpha hydroxy acids, hydroquinone, or N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) and niacinamide. Many day spas and salons also offer treatments that can fade PIH. The most common of these include light chemical peels and microderm abrasion.

Certain persistent cases are best treated by consulting a dermatologist. He may prescribe topical medications or suggest other procedures that will help diminish PIH.

For women, non comedogenic cosmetics, or non oily cosmetics are the best remedy for acne.  In addition to this, some astringents work well on the pimples for reducing inflammation. They may be recommended for very oily skin and need to be applied directly on the oily areas only.

Acne usually begins with blackheads. Blackheads are formed when oil and dead cells get trapped in a pore. They then turn black when exposed to air. When blackheads become inflamed, they become red (pimples). They multiply when touched with dirty hands. So to get rid of acne, you should also try blackhead remedies.

Hopefully, you would have realized that there is no major reason to worry or feel depressed. Most acne concerns can be cured and are not permanent.

Not just this, you definitely mustn’t feel singled out for it is not just you but a majority of the population in the world who suffer from acne related problems and are looking out for remedies just like you.

1.   Get a proper diagnosis

Determine what the cause of your acne is with the help of your Dermatologist and get to the root of the problem. Your Dermatologist will be able to guide you on how to get rid of acne, scars and other acne related problems.

2.   Know your triggers

If you’re unusually stressed, then you should take a vacation or get a few days off. Stress can be a positive risk factor for acne development. Once you know the cause of your problem, you will be able to ease it out and learn to live with it.

3.   Hypoallergenic moisturizers

Moisturizers are good to apply on the surface of the skin and keep your treated skin from peeling and drying.  At the same time, proper consultation before and during their usage is necessary to prevent adverse side effects.

Following these steps, ensuring a less stressed life, keeping a diet plan and washing yourself to maintain cleanliness can probably aid you in trying to cope with acne.