Acne affecting more than just skin? See a dermatologist


A recent survey conducted in Australia has revealed that acne’s effects go beyond the surface of the skin. The condition, which affects 95% of people in England at some point in their lives, can lead to significant psychological distress.

Severe, and even mild forms of acne can negatively impact self-esteem, and even influence social media behaviour. While previous studies have demonstrated that acne can have negative effects on adolescents’ body image, confidence, and self-esteem, this survey is among the first to explore its impact on relationships and social media use amongst young people.

Here, we look at the psychological impact acne can have, and reveal some top tips to help clear up the condition.

The psychological impact of acne on young people

A recent study, led by Dr Rhiannon Russell, a resident medical officer at The Wollongong Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, found that young people with severe acne often edit their photos and refrain from sharing them on social media. They also face difficulties in meeting new people and finding a partner.

Results showed that those with severe acne avoided posting pictures of themselves on social media. Even in cases of mild acne, a considerable proportion of participants (59%) stated that they would not post a picture of themselves to their profiles.

The study also found that people with severe acne are more likely to have trouble going out in public, meeting new people, and engaging with potential romantic interests. Over 80% of respondents with severe acne reported significant difficulties in this regard, while only a third of respondents with mild acne reported the same issues.

Young people suffering with acne should have access to psychological support since it can have a significant negative impact on all aspects of their lives. Consequently, NICE brought out guidance in 2021 for supporting the mental health of people affected by acne.

Tips for dealing with acne that won’t clear up

While most cases of acne do clear up by themselves, in stubborn cases there are things you can do to help speed up the process. Let’s look at some of the top tips you can follow to clear up mild to severe acne…

Give treatments time to work

Effective acne treatment requires time to work and switching products frequently can irritate your skin. It’s important to be patient and allow time for a treatment to take effect. Improvement may be noticeable within 4 to 6 weeks, but it can take two to three months or longer for significant clearing to occur.

Once you see an improvement, it’s essential to continue using the treatment, even if your acne has cleared up. This can help to prevent new breakouts from occurring, as well as help maintain healthy skin.

Don’t over-wash the skin

Acne-prone skin is delicate and easily irritated. Over-washing, especially more than twice a day, can aggravate the skin, making the symptoms worse.

To achieve best results, wash your face, using a product designed for skin with acne, first thing in the morning, before going to bed, and after sweating. These are the times when your skin is most susceptible to accumulating impurities and bacteria.

Visit a dermatologist

If nothing you try is working, visit a dermatologist. Thanks to developments in modern treatments, a trained dermatologist can help to clear up even the most stubborn cases of acne. They will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and concerns.

Book a consultation with Dr Juliet Williams today. An expert dermatologist, she will help you on your journey to healthy, glowing skin.