Acne sufferers are almost two-thirds more likely to suffer from depression than other people.
A study found the increased depression risk in the first year after being diagnosed with the skin condition.
Almost one in five people with acne have been dumped because of it, with more than one in 10 losing their job, according to previous research.
The new study analysed more than 134,000 British sufferers to find the 63 per cent higher risk of major depression, in people from age seven to 50.
They say doctors should keep a close eye on people with acne, which affects almost one in 10 people, and is far more common in women than men.
Acne sufferers are almost two-thirds more likely to suffer from depression (stock)
IS POVERTY LINKED TO PUBERTY ONSET?
Children from poor families are up to four times more likely to start puberty early, research suggested in June 2017.
Boys are at the greatest risk, yet disadvantaged girls are still twice as likely to prematurely develop breasts or pubic hair, a study found.
Researchers believe this may be due to poverty causing youngsters stress, which leads to the early release of reproductive hormones.
Previous research suggests an early puberty increases a person’s risk of certain cancers, such as breast and endometrial in women, and prostate in men.
The past study’s author says parents can help delay their child’s puberty onset by encouraging them to exercise and eat well.
This is because overweight youngsters have more energy reserves that ‘trick’ the body into sexually maturing.
The researchers, from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia, asked 3,700 parents of children aged between eight and 11 years old whether signs of puberty had occurred.
Signs in girls include developing breasts, pubic and armpit hair, menstruating and acne. Puberty symptoms in boys include acne, facial and pubic hair, and muscle and height growth.
The researchers then compared the families’ incomes, level of education and occupations.
‘It is more than skin-deep’
The study’s lead author, Dr Isabelle Vallerand, from the University of Calgary in Canada, said: ‘Acne appears to have a large effect on the self-esteem of patients living with the condition. It is more than skin-deep.
‘It is a condition that is quite visible to other people, which can be difficult to hide, so there may be a degree of shame or embarrassment about living with it.
‘There is an expectation that acne is for teenagers, and that people should grow out of it, which might make it particularly hard to live with for older people.’
A survey by the British Skin Foundation found more than half of acne sufferers have been insulted over it by friends, family and other people they know. Just over 10 per cent of more than 2,000 sufferers had been unfairly dismissed due to the skin condition.
Caused when tiny holes in the skin, called hair follicles, become blocked, acne causes painful spots across the face and upper body which can leave permanent scarring.
‘It’s imperative that we don’t trivialise the importance of acne’
The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found sufferers have a significantly increased risk of developing major depression, but only in the first five years after being diagnosed with acne.
Based on data from the Health Improvement Network, a large patient database in the UK, it found the risk was highest within a year of diagnosis. Acne accounts for 3.5 million GP visits in the UK every year.
Consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth, a spokesman for the British Skin Foundation, said: ‘Unfortunately, this study won’t come as a surprise to most dermatologists, but I think it is a very important issue to highlight.
‘Acne can have a profound effect on people’s self-esteem and subsequently their mental health. It’s imperative that we don’t trivialise the importance of acne and that doctors ensure it is promptly and effectively treated.’
The study compared 134,437 acne patients with more than 1.7 million people without acne.
Dr Vallerand added: ‘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.’