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Acne may be associated with increased risk of depression

A population-based cohort study links acne with an increased risk of depression.

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Photo: Nick Youngson

According to a study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, acne may be linked to a higher risk of developing clinical depression, but only in the first five years of diagnosis with the skin condition.

Researchers had dug through electronic medical record databases, including a primary care database in the United Kingdom called The Health Improvement Network (THIN).

The British database contained 134,427 men and women with acne and 1,731,608 without the condition. All participants were followed for a 15 year period. The median age was near 19, however, it ranged from early adolescence to mid-adulthood.

In the findings, participants who were female, less likely to abuse substances, and of higher socioeconomic status, made up the majority with acne.

When compared to participants without acne, the group with acne had a 63% higher risk for clinical depression within the first year of acne diagnosis, the study found.

Given the results, physicians may need to screen patients with acne for possible symptoms of a mood disorder. Doing so, could increase the chances of early intervention and decrease the severity of depressive symptoms.

“For these patients with acne, it is more than a skin blemish — it can impose significant mental health concerns and should be taken seriously,” researchers say.

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