Each person with acne will deal with it in different ways. There is not one typical reaction to acne; reactions can range from blasé indifference to panic and social withdrawal. However, once the acne has progressed beyond the temporary appearance of what the kids would refer to as a “zit”, it becomes more serious. A blemish is transitory; a scar is permanent.
While acne can, in fact, become very serious and may cause a number of different emotional, psychological and social problems, it usually fades or at the very least responds to treatment. Scarring, on the other hand, may need far more work to get any improvement.
In general, scarring can be treated and improved, but difficult to clear completely.
To the person who has acne, going out in public, even to work or school, can be a major hardship. They may stop attending social events or not even want to go to family gatherings. Because the age of acne and the age of personal identity development coincide,
serious psychological problems can arise, including depression, especially if the acne is severe.
To the teen who is already predisposed to depression or to other mental health issues, any acne at all, even if it is very mild, can seem severe and in extreme situations may lead to isolation and avoiding all social contact with others.
The signs of depression for the person with acne are the same as those without and include:
• Weight and appetite changes
• Sleep changes
• Behavioral problems
• Excessive crying
• Mood changes or mood swings
• Decreased energy levels
• Decreased motivation
Any of these signs should be taken seriously and investigated further, especially if acne is present. Taking steps to care for the acne itself should help with some but not all of the depressive symptoms. In a recent survey however, nearly one third of individuals who had moderate to severe acne were never seen by a dermatologist.
When acne progresses to the point of causing severe
scarring, emotional difficulties can be long lasting.
5 Smart Things to Do if You Have Acne or Acne Scars
1. Keep caring for your skin carefully.
2. Do not pick at your skin and cause further damage.
3. Consult with a dermatologist or skin care specialist about potential treatment and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
4. Be patient. Treatment takes time; event though you might see ads promising totally clear skin in 2 weeks, the time period usually required to clear acne is much longer than this. Even Accutane which is the most potent acne medication available takes 5 or 6 months of treatment to get the best results, so you must give your treatment time to work.
5. Try to remain positive no matter what. Talk about the scars and how they make you feel. Be honest with yourself and with others especially if you have having feelings of depression or thoughts of harming yourself.
5 Things Not to Do if You Have Acne or Acne Scars
1. Don’t start acne treatment for a few weeks or a month and then quit. Stick with it and do not ignore the recommendations of your dermatologist
2. Do not hide your acne scars with thick makeup or your own hair.
3. Don’t spend hours in the tanning booth or in the sun thinking that the extra sunshine will help “dry” out the acne and hide the scars. Excessive tanning can be unhealthy for other reasons.
4. Do not withdraw from society.
5. Do not get discouraged and do nothing. Go in for a consultation.
Acne and acne scarring can be devastating to the social, emotional and psychological health of the person who is dealing with it. While virtually everyone will have some level of acne during their lifetime, only one third of those people will actually seek the treatment of a dermatologist for their condition.
Do not let yourself believe all of the myths that have surrounded acne for many years.
Educate yourself so that you are not doing more harm to yourself and your skin.
Most of all, learn how to care for your skin properly so that you don’t worsen acne or cause serious scarring. Be careful with the makeup or other products that you are using on your skin and only use those products which are non-comedogenic and oil free.
Because acne scarring can be disfiguring and embarrassing, it is important that acne is treated as early as possible to decrease the risk of scarring as much as possible. Professional help is available to keep you looking your best so take advantage of it!