Skin Info Home Skin Conditions & Treatments Cosmetic Treatments Skin Care Basics Daily Skin Care Tips Articles & Videos Skin Info Network About Us Other Skin Conditions
The Invisible Effects of Acne (Acne)
Articles & Videos

The Invisible Effects of Acne

Jerry K. L. Tan, MD, FRCPC

While acne is nearly universal, likely affecting all of us at some point in our lives, many of the negative social effects of acne are often underappreciated by those who have not suffered from severe acne. We are all familiar with the physical features of acne, but acne can also cause emotional and social suffering, and can lead to anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal. Studies have shown some sobering results, demonstrating that those with acne can lack self-confidence, are often dissatisfied with their appearance, and are overly self-conscious. This can lead to problems interacting with strangers, public appearances, or members of the opposite sex.

Mental stress can also affect acne sufferers, which can affect other disorders such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, diabetes, epilepsy, or heart disease. Certain studies have also shown that acne can affect others’ perception negatively. A recent Canadian study has shown that those with severe acne are more likely to be unemployed. Since the facial area, which is one of the primary gauges of judging attractiveness, is often affected by acne, it can have major consequences for the patient’s self-image and socialization.

The good news is that acne can be treated, and there is no reason to despair. Understanding how acne works, and undergoing proper skin care and treatment will reduce the impact of acne on your life. Acne is essentially caused by the plugging of the pores with excess oil, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads. Acne bacteria can then spread, causing inflammation of the skin, developing pimples, leading to stains and scars. For more information read Acne Basics.

Effective treatments are plentiful, and if common acne measures do not improve your condition, or if you suffer from severe forms of acne, you should visit your dermatologist to obtain a medical prescription. Some more aggressive treatments include topical prescriptions, antibiotics, hormone pills, isotretinoin pills, or light and photodynamic therapy. Remember that there is an effective treatment that can significantly improve your condition.

Treatment can reverse many of the unseen psychological and social impacts that acne can cause. We often notice a remarkable improvement in general self-esteem and confidence in patients that come and seek treatment. Therapy is often associated with a more outgoing and positive disposition. If you or someone you know is suffering from acne, and are feeling depressed, seek a dermatologist to discuss available treatment options. It can help more than your appearance. Learn more at


acne,   emotional suffering,   social suffering,