The Relationship Between Acne and Mental Health | By Sreeja Shrestha

acne skin op 2

We’ve been taking a deeper look at acne and the various factors surrounding it. One thing that stood out was the impact acne can have on people’s mental health. So we decided to ask Sreeja (of @skinoreal) to explore the relationship between acne and our mental well-being. Having studied psychology and skin, as well as interacting with clients over the years; Sreeja is uniquely placed to provide deeper insight into the impact of skin issues on your mental health.

Read on to understand how it can go beyond just the physical; and what you can do to improve your psychological responses to acne.

We are aware that acne is a common skin problem which causes inflammation on the skin, which might or might not be painful. However, we make this big mistake of thinking that its only superficial.

I know I speak for a lot of people when I say-


How Does Acne Affect Us?

I have met people suffering from acne who couldn’t see past their inflamed bumps while looking into the mirror. From using makeup to hide their pimples to avoiding any situation involving photography, or even bright sunlight (because people can see your skin better, which means they can see your acne) – they go through it all. 

Our society doesn’t help; what’s more, it causes further damage. Between calling you names and telling you to get over it, they cause your self-esteem to hit rock bottom. 

Do you still think acne is only physical?

Then read on –

According a report published by Report Linker – ‘Global Acne Market Report for 2016-2026’, more than 90 per cent of the population is affected by acne at some point in their lives. Studies have shown that acne can significantly affect the quality of life and can lead to social withdrawal, low self-esteem, feelings of self-worthlessness, anxiety and depression.

Social Media, Acne & Mental Health

The rise of the #acnepositivity movement on social media (which encourages people to accept their own real skin over the unreal, aesthetic perfection, plastered all over Instagram) is a confirmation that acne indeed is a skin issue, but the stigma around it has made its impact more than skin deep.

Social media has indeed played a pivotal role in the acne positivity movement, but on the flip side beautifying filters and photo editing apps are the culprits destroying the self-esteem of individuals troubled with acne. 

They end up comparing the best made-up version of someone to the raw version of themselves, sometimes even succumbing to serious psychological issues like depression, anxiety and obsessive behaviour.  

How Do We Move Forward?

In 2021, we should try to move towards the concept of acne neutrality, wherein our skin should be treated as any other organ of our body. It should not be viewed as good or bad, but simply that it should be healthy.

To all my acne sufferers out there, you really don’t have to love your pimples or your marks, just being comfortable in your skin is more than enough.

Do what works for you! If you want to cover your acne with pimple patches, do it. Want to use makeup to cover your marks, go for it. Prefer to go barefaced, without any makeup, that’s great! If you want to do something different or not do anything at all for your acne, that works too.

The idea is that you don’t have to justify your choices to anyone. 

Accepting this idea, that acne is a part of you but is not you, will give you the power to realise that your skin is not attached to your self worth. You will see it for what it truly is i.e. an organ.

Thank you for reading! We hope this helped improve your understanding of the relationship between acne and mental health. If you can relate and want any help, then don’t hesitate to reach out to Sreeja (@skinoreal).

If you would like to read more about acne, check out these articles:

Acne: A Skincare Journey with @BeautyAnomaly

Pimple Talk: 6 Innocent Things You’re Doing That’s Making Your Acne Worse

The Simplest 5-Step Summer Routine for Acne-Prone Skin


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here