A study published recently in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that people with acne are at a higher risk for developing depression. The study spanned 15 years and showed that the probability of developing depression was 18.5 percent among those with acne and 12 percent in those without. The study also discovered a higher risk for depression occurred during the first five years after the acne diagnosis, with the risk being highest within the first year.
"Acne can have a very meaningful impact on health that goes beyond skin deep," says Michele J. Farber, M.D., of New York City's Schweiger Dermatology Group. "The results of a recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology show that people with acne have a significantly higher risk of becoming depressed. Effectively treating acne not only results in clear skin, but also has the potential to improve mental health outcomes."
As estheticians and wellness professionals, it's important for us as well as our clients to be aware of this study and to be mindful for the increased chance of depression that can accompany acne. Here, Farber shares some tips ideal for clients struggling with their acne and self esteem:
- Suggest a scroll through Instagram using the no makeup hashtag (#nomakeup) to find many beautiful celebrities posting photos of themselves showing their less than perfect skin. Remind clients that everyone gets acne!
- Another scroll through social media will show clients famous faces proudly wearing acne spot treatments on their face at bedtime, the same way many clients do.
- Help clients understand that many times acne cannot be treated alone. Partnering with an esthetician, medical spa, and dermatologist is often the best way to clear up acne, and by working with you, they have already take the first step towards better skin.
- Promote good self-care in general. Suggest clients eat a well-balanced diet, avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as minimizing caffeine and bulking up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Studies show a direct correlation between high glycemic foods and acne breakouts; eating healthy can also promote good skin.
- Know how to recognize the difference between just feeling bad and depression. It’s very common for acne sufferers to feel self-conscious about their skin, but remind clients it’s important to keep track of when they're just feeling down versus when they're feeling worse. When feelings of self-consciousness lead to depression and hopelessness, it’s time to seek help from a mental health professional.