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Acne May Blemish Teens' Emotional Lives, Too
Date:3/18/2011

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- A new review confirms something that teens have always known: pimples, low self-esteem and depression often go hand-in-hand.

While it doesn't prove that blemishes actually cause emotional problems, the analysis of 16 studies suggests that teenage acne outbreaks do more than just boost Clearasil sales.

"Acne has a huge impact on people's lives," said review co-author Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It's something worth treating," he added, and not just because it can lead to permanent scarring.

Feldman said he launched his research at a time when there's a growing interest in how skin diseases might be linked to other conditions. People with psoriasis, for example, may have problems with heart disease, arthritis and mental issues.

Acne, of course, has long been known as a teenage scourge, although pimples can also affect older people. Feldman and his colleagues looked for research into the possible effects of acne on quality of life and mental health in adolescents. They determined that 16 studies were worthy of inclusion in their review; some of the studies included both teenagers and older people.

The review was published in the Dermatology Online Journal.

Overall, it says, the studies suggest that acne "can negatively affect quality of life, self-esteem and mood in adolescents." Acne is also linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

In particular, one study found that 9 percent of teens with acne showed signs of depression, a rate that is three to four times higher than in the general population.

The cause-and-effect issue is a tricky one: the studies don't prove that acne directly causes these problems; it could conceivably be the other way around.

However, "we're not anticipating that depression cause
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