For some reason, the effect of acne on a person’s emotions and self-esteem is often left unaddressed. When you go to your dermatologist, for example, he or she will rarely ask you if you feel depressed, anxious, or even hateful of yourself. The dermatologist deals with the surface of a person – his or her skin – by trade. But some acne sufferers – especially teens – may have some very intense emotions under their skin’s surface.
While acne can present a struggle at any age, teens tend to be the most vulnerable to the negative emotional impact of acne. Teenagers are still forming and growing, and the image they form of themselves can be influenced permanently. Adults suffering from acne may still experience some difficult emotions, but they usually have a more mature self-image and a different perspective on the world than teenagers.
It is worth noting, however, that adults – especially women – may suffer emotionally if their acne occurs during menopause or other significant hormonal shifts associated with ageing. The woman may feel unattractive anyway, and the acne may only make it worse.
When a teen has acne, several things can happen that affect his or her self-esteem, such as:
* Being made fun of at school. Whether it’s friendly teasing or mean taunting, having your peers make fun of your face can incite all kinds of negative emotions.
* Being misunderstood, either deliberately or genuinely. A lot of times, people without acne will accuse you of not washing your face, or assume you have poor hygiene. But any teen with acne can tell you, it’s not an issue of not washing! Acne comes from within, and is the result of a complex interplay between hormones, environment, stress level, and nutrients.
* Being ignored or snubbed by the opposite sex. This may not seem like a big deal to a grown-up, but teens with acne often feel ugly or unworthy of attention from the opposite sex.
* Teens with acne may sit at home rather than going out with friends, embarrassed that someone will see their pimples. Acne can make them feel like a social outcast.
Emotionally, a teen may become depressed and angry, even to the point of self-hatred, when he or she experiences this kind of attack on his or her self-esteem. In fact, studies have shown that even when acne is improved, the negative feelings and depression can linger on. This indicates that acne may have a lasting effect on the emotions and self-image.
The sense of injustice that a teen may feel when suffering acne (“Why can’t I be like so-and-so? Why me?”) can manifest as angry and aggressive outbursts.