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Acne Awareness Week: Emotional impact of acne on teens underestimated

Emotional impact of acne on teens underestimated, research shows it can seriously affect lives.

Today, Monday September 19th kicks off the first day of Acne Awareness Week in Canada as featured in Health Canada’s Calendar of Health Promotion Days.

To raise awareness about the emotional impact of acne, the society has created cartoons featuring teens and some common, insensitive acne myths.

The emotional impact of acne on teens is being underestimated, leaving young people without support or help during a critical period in their lives, according to non-profit organization, the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada.

Research shows acne can result in significant emotional distress ranging from bad moods and embarrassment to shame, anxiety and even depression. Acne usually appears on the face and affects appearance and self-image.

“Acne is typically dismissed as cosmetic issue but it is often felt far deeper because it affects appearance and happens during a time of change – physical, emotional and social,” says Vancouver dermatologist and society spokesperson, Dr. Shannon Humphrey.

“The emotional impact of acne – from lower self-esteem to anger, embarrassment, social anxiety and depression – can be far worse than the physical impact and can seriously affect lives.”

In one study of teens with acne, the number who felt lonely (58%) or anxious (56%) was comparable to those with diabetes, cancer and epilepsy.

“Acne can affect the development of self-image and assertiveness in teens – factors that are important in forming friendships and dating. Having acne has also been associated with teasing, bullying and eating disorders,” she adds. Depression is 2 to 3 times more prevalent in acne patients than in the general public and the longer acne goes on, the greater the psychological harm to personal and social life.

Main Take Away

“Recognizing the emotional impact of acne and offering support and help to sufferers can limit psycho-social harm,” Dr. Humphrey says. “There are safe and effective over-the-counter or prescription acne treatments to help with this condition. Studies have shown outlook improves as acne improves. And who wouldn’t want a happier teen in their home?”

Acne Awareness Week, September 19 – 25, 2016 was designated by the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada / La Société canadienne de l’acné et de la rosacée (www.AcneAction.ca) to raise awareness about acne, a common skin condition affecting 5 million Canadians that can cause significant physical and emotional effects.

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