Why acne risk goes beyond the dermatological symptoms

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People with acne are at substantially higher risk for depression in the first years after the condition appears, a new study reports.

Researchers had dug through electronic medical record databases, including a primary care database in the United Kingdom called The Health Improvement Network (THIN).

According to the results of the study, the likelihood of developing major depression was 18.5 percent among patients with acne and 12 percent in those without.

And in case you were wondering about the role of those pesky teenaged hormones, most participants were followed from under the age of 19, all the way to through their 20s and beyond, so it seems like fluctuations in mood or feeling may have little to do with simple teenage mood swings.

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Also, female patients are more likely to have acne (or to present to a doctor) and are also more likely to develop major depressive disorder, which is consistent with existing literature.

"This study highlights an important link between skin disease and mental illness", the paper's lead author, Dr. Isabelle Vallerand, told Science Daily.

Again, these numbers won't be shocking to anyone who has struggled with their skin, but it's also interesting to consider the idea that the connection has more to do with inflammation than the low self-esteem or social isolation that can sometimes accompany acne. In other words: Acne doesn't cause depression, but acne and depression might be caused by the same underlying issue. The risk was highest in the first year, when there was a 63 percent increased risk of depression in a person with acne compared to someone without. Either way, it's wise to become more aware of the various factors affecting our health, be it mental or physical.

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