Acne Stigma

Acne and Mental Health: What Are Effects of Acne Stigma?

Are you acne-prone? Do you feel unwanted, lonely, sad, or anxious? You are not alone yourself. Acne patients often have mental health problems as well. Discover how acne affects mental health and what measures (do you need a face cream, moisturizing face wash, or a hydrating facial cleanser?) you may take it to get treatment.

Acne and Depression: A Connection

Numerous studies have supported what many acne patients already knew: severe skin disorders like acne may result in severe mental health problems, including clinical depression.

Acne Stigmatization

People with acne who also have mental health problems often react to the stigma attached to acne in our society. 

Participants in a study by Harvard Medical School, University of Utah, and Cambridge Health Alliance researchers were shown photographs of people with a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, warts, vitiligo, psoriasis, and acne, before completing a questionnaire examining their reactions to the photographs and perceptions of each condition. 

The photographs of acne disturbed 62.5% of the viewers, 55.4% of the subjects, 37.5% of the subjects felt food had anything to do with it, and 50% thought it was contagious. Most participants said they would be embarrassed and think people with acne are ugly (67.9%). 

In addition, 41.1% said they would feel awkward touching someone with acne, and 44.6% said they would feel awkward being seen with them in public.

This research demonstrates that acne sufferers’ perceptions of other people’s rejection of them are not simply in their imaginations. They react to biases and misunderstandings among their friends, classmates, and society.

Social Reclusion

Acne may affect people of any age, but since puberty causes hormonal changes, it most often affects teens and young adults.

The National Institutes of Health stated that between the ages of 11 and 30, 80% of persons have acne breakouts. Teenagers and young adults forming their social identities and building their self-images find these outbreaks especially challenging. 

Young individuals experience poor self-esteem and lack confidence when pimples, lumps, and scars begin to show. It is typical for young people with acne to avoid dating, job applications, social gatherings, sports, and other extracurricular activities and withdraw within themselves. Because of the bullying and ridicule they get for acne, many teens feel inferior and are more likely to withdraw from social situations.

Images & Media

It’s no secret that our society is image-obsessed, exacerbated by the fact that we constantly utilize media. 

According to Science Daily, researchers Jamie Davern and Dr. Aisling O’Donnell from the University of Limerick in Ireland performed the study. The research aimed to determine if acne patients’ perceptions of stigma significantly predicted psychological and physical health. 

Acne is not well portrayed in popular culture, advertising, or social media, like many stigmatized physical characteristics. As a result, individuals who have acne may believe that they are “not normal” and that others don’t like them.


Acne patients struggle not just because they don’t see other acne sufferers reflected in the media but also because of the continual pressure to project a certain image on social media, which lowers their self-esteem. 

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