Acne due to depression
Can depression Cause Acne?
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Dr. Divya Shree K.R
Psychiatrist 16 yrs exp Bangalore
It has been proved by many psychiatrists that depression does cause physical symptoms, but can it cause acne? To answer your question it is important for us to understand how depression and acne work. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being.Acne vulgaris (or simply acne) is a long-term skin disease that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin.It is characterized by areas of --Blackheads --Whiteheads --Pimples, and greasy skin. --Rarely it may result in scarring. Genetics is thought to be the cause in 80% of cases. Hormonal activity, such as occurs during menstrual cycles and puberty, may contribute to the formation of acne.A few studies have been performed which demonstrate that stress causes or worsens acne.Some research indicates that increased acne severity is associated with high stress levels in certain settings. A study conducted by Jon Halvorsen, a dermatologist at the University of Oslo in Norway showed that of the 3,659 students invited, roughly 19% of the kids reported symptoms of depression and said they had acne, compared to only 12% of those who reported no mental distress. Among boys, those with depression were 68% more likely to report acne than their happier peers; among girls, those with mental distress were twice as likely to report acne. Now to answer the more important question,how could a mental-health problem actually exacerbate acne, a skin condition? One theory is that people with mental distress eat more junk food. Overindulging in chocolate and potato chips and other lifestyle factors like regular use of alcohol and cigarettes are more likely to report acne than those who are abstemiousm and it is a well known fact that depression increases the risk of substance abuse.It has also been shown that stress may somehow stimulate the growth of nerve fibers near sebaceous glands, which in turn contributes to the increased production of sebum,the fatty substance that combines with cell debris and dead skin cells to form those familiar blackheads and pustules. Depressed people's motivation to take care of themselves and do their doctor's recommended skin routine is lower, and hence can indirectly exacerbate acne. Another point in support of this is that antidepressants has improved the acne status of several individuals in the past. Hence to answer your question more specifically, we can say that even though it has not been proven that depression as such can directly cause acne, it does have a strong role in worsening the skin condition.
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