Thursday, March 15, 2012

Psychological Effects of Acne

No single disease causes more psychological trauma, maladjustment between parents and children, insecurity, feelings of inferiority, and mental suffering than acne.

Quality of life is defined as the burden of disease in terms of impairment of the patient's day-to-day life as well as burden to society. Acne affects the four key dimensions of a patient's life, which are closely interelated: psychological, social, occupational, and physical.

Acne patients are often conscious of their condition -- they tend to be unhappy and frustrated about their appearance, and may consequently become depressed. Sometimes, they can become so distressed that even routine daily activities are affected. one patient was so conscious of a particularly big pimple on her nose that she locked herself up in her room, refused to go to school, and did not even want to see her family members, who lived in the same house! Acne sufferers often think that people judge them primarily on external appearance, and may be unwilling to go for job interviews, convinced that employers will have a poor first visual impression and think that they are unable to do the job effectively.

Acne patients feel that their relationships with friends, especially new acquaintances, are affected. They may be uncomfortable even interacting with family members, and tend to withdraw from people and social activities. They often hide themselves in their room and avoid going out when they have a breakout. Outings, if any, tend to be solitary; they usually avoid crowded places.

Preoccupation with self-image may also take its toll on patients' daily activities and pursuits. For teenagers, concentration is affected and they may neglect their schoolwork, resulting in falling grades. For adults, work performance may also be similarly affected.

Whether to treat acne at all and even how to treat acne are very personal decisions. Some people are devastated by one lesion, others can have many lesions and barely even notice. Larger acne lesions such as inflamed nodules and cysts may hurt and sometimes bleed and discharge pus; this may impose certain limitations on the patient's physical activities. Topical treatments are the mainstay of acne treatments. They are used alone or in combination with oral medications to treat and control acne breakouts.

Acne is divided into three basic categories from mild to severe depending on the number of pimples and the amount of scarring:
1. Mild - nonscarring, fewer than 10 lesions;
2. Moderate - may scar, more than 10 lesions; and
3. Severe - cystic, nodulocystic, scarring.

If you get only one new acne lesion of any type per month but each lesion leaves behind a scar, this would make 12 new scars each year. In this case, it would be wise to treat the acne in order to prevent as many new lesions as possible and to help the ones that do appear to clear as quickly as possible in order to minimize the chance of permanent scarring.

It is also important to remember to avoid picking at or squeezing lesions. Do not pick. Picking at acne lesions or scars leads to a longer duration of lesions and a higher chance of permanent scarring as well as increased pain at the site.

Despite not being life-threatening, acne has a significant psychosocial impact on sufferers. Even mild to moderate acne can cause severe psychological distress, and affect the body image. Psychological morbidity -- low self-esteem, social withdrawal, frustration, anxiety, anger, depression, and suicidal thoughts -- may develop as a result of acne or its residual scars.

Getting our skin to look good and keeping it that way have become a multibillion dollar per year industry, and it affects us to our deepest core. Virtually hundreds of thousands of acne products are available that claim to be the latest, newest, and best product to give you flawless skin that will change your life overnight -- for example, Resurgence. Acne products are often available in washes (Acne Body Wash), solutions, gels, lotions, creams, and ointment formulations. We are always looking for the newest, secret, magical ingredient that will clear any problems in our skin, real or imagined, from acne to wrinkles, and give us that 'glow' that signals health, beauty, youth and success! 

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