Can acne cause depression? Yes. According to a new health study, acne is associated with increased risk of developing major depression in the first years after the condition appears.
“This study highlights an important link between skin disease and mental illness,” said the lead author of the study Isabelle Vallerand, Ph.D. student at the University of Calgary, Canada.
Study to find out if acne can cause depression
For the purpose of the study, researchers examined data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) from 1986 to 2012. The database included 134,427 participants with acne and 1,731,608 participants without acne and followed them for a period of 15 years. Most were under 19 at the start of the study, though they ranged in age from seven to 50, The New York Times reported.
It was found that the risk for major depression was highest within 1 year of acne diagnosis — a 63 percent higher risk compared with individuals without acne — and decreased thereafter.
The researchers explained that it is critical that physicians monitor mood symptoms in patients with acne and initiate prompt treatment for depression or seek consultation from a psychiatrist when needed.
“Given the risk of depression was highest in the period right after the first time a patient presented to a physician for acne concerns, it shows just how impactful our skin can be towards our overall mental health,” said Vallerand.
“For these patients with acne, it is more than a skin blemish — it can impose significant mental health concerns and should be taken seriously.”
The findings have been published in The British Journal of Dermatology.