Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada have found that patients with acne have a significantly increased risk of developing major depression, but only in the first five years after being diagnosed with acne.
The analysis, which has been published in the British Journal of Dermatology, includes data from The Health Improvement Network, a large primary care database in the United Kingdom.
The investigators found that the risk for major depression was highest within one year of acne diagnosis – a 63 per cent higher risk compared with individuals without acne – and decreased thereafter.
The results indicate that it is critical that physicians monitor mood symptoms in patients with acne and initiate prompt treatment for depression or seek consultation from a psychiatrist when needed.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Isabelle Vallerand, said: ‘This study highlights an important link between skin disease and mental illness. Given the risk of depression was highest in the period right after the first time a patient presented to a physician for acne concerns, it shows just how impactful our skin can be towards our overall mental health. For these patients with acne, it is more than a skin blemish – it can impose significant mental health concerns and should be taken seriously.’