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Research study on acne and depression

This study found that acne patients had depression rates that were 2-3 times higher than the general population. The highest rates of depression were found in female acne patients and those who were 36-64 yrs of age

I am going to upload the actual article in the research section of the board, for anyone who wants to read it. Here is a summary:

Acne vulgaris and depression: a retrospective examination

Elizabeth Uhlenhake, BS,1 Brad A Yentzer, MD,1 & Steven R Feldman, MD, PhD

2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 9, 59–63


Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease that affects patients both physically

and mentally.


To examine the prevalence of reported depression in acne patients.


Patient information was obtained from a medical claims database and analyzed

using the Total Resource Utilization Benchmarks process. Benchmarks in this study

include: age, gender, co-morbid depression, antidepressant utilization, and acne treatment

modality. Depression prevalence in acne patients was compared with general



Depression was two to three times more prevalent in acne patients than in the

general population, with a reported 8.8% of acne patients having clinical depression.

The majority of cases of depression and antidepressant therapy utilization were observed

in acne patients aged 18 and over with the highest percentage in the 36–64 age group.

Approximately 65.2% of the acne patient population was female, with twice as many

reported to have depression as males (10.6% females vs. 5.3% males).


This analysis included only patients that sought treatment for their acne and

had also reported having clinical depression. This may underestimate the total prevalence

of acne and associated depression.


Acne is a disease that affects people of all ages both physically and psychologically.

A correlation exists between clinical depression and acne patients, particularly

those older than 36. ‘‘There is no single disease which causes more psychic

trauma and more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity

and feelings of inferiority and greater sums of psychic assessment than does acne

vulgaris’’ (Sulzberger, 19481).

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Can't these same context clues be advised for teens as well?

The rates of depression were higher than the population rates for the entire group of acne clients - teens and adults. However, when you break it down by age, adults with acne between the ages of 36-64 had higher rates of depression than all other age groups.

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Here are the % of acne patients with depression by age group:

Under 11 yrs (1.5%)

12-14 yrs (4%)

15-17 yrs (6%)

18-24 yrs (7%)

25-35 yrs (12%)

36-64 yrs (14%)

65 and older (7%)

And as the study mentioned, the rates are higher than the general population and may even be underestimates of the actual rate of depressive symptoms in acne patients.

Take home message is that there is a link between these two conditions for acne patients overall, particularly for middle age to older adults, and doctors often do not screen for depression in their acne patients (and they should!!)

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I completely agree with you, Willow. Dermatologists are missing out on a lot of opportunities to refer patients who really need help to those who can help them. I hope derms are becoming more aware of this issue thanks to research like this.

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This whole deal is a mess. Acne led to Manic Depression for me, and my life hasnt gotten any better. Possibly worse. Unfortunately, most people that have never had acne dont give a shit about it, so this kind of research, which is very important in finding solutions for any and all of us, seems like it will continue to be on the back burner. After all, we all get some zits right? Just rub some cream on it and stop crying!

Fuck society.

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