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Teenage Acne and Depression

Updated on July 29, 2010

Teenage Acne and Depression


I believe I’m fully qualified to talk about the link between teenage acne and depression, having been through it myself. It’s one thing to bring some boring, clinical information about this stuff, but it’s another thing entirely when you’ve actually experienced it for yourself and can speak from that experience. Although the old saying goes, “Beauty is only skin deep”, and although we as human beings should practice learning how to judge people not by their appearance but by their inner qualities, there’s still something to be said for the impact that acne can have on a person’s self-esteem, self-image, and sense of self worth. Unfortunately, we live in a world where so many people are superficial as a rule, and they will many times find an occasion to single someone out due to some physical flaw or deficiency, and then hone in on it through ridicule, or doing something to purposefully embarrass someone. All of us know that the teenage years are basically the most taxing years as far as learning how to gain your own sense of identity, and yet the teenage years are also the years where peer pressure and the overwhelming urge to be “accepted” or to be with the “in” crowd comes into play. Of course, if you are not darn-near-perfect, you cannot be accepted into some of those “in” crowds, and so a condition like acne can leave you on the outside looking in. Little do you know back then, but being in the “in” crowd really won’t mean a thing once you graduate high school. But anyway, speaking from my own experience, I had acne really bad in high school, to the point where it seemed like my whole face was one big zit. I had clusters of acne on my temples, my forehead, my cheeks, my nose, and my chin. Wait a minute…that pretty much covers the whole face, right? Anyway, some days the breakouts were so severe that I literally wanted to skip school because I simply did not want to be seen like that. I remember one of my teachers, in front of the entire class, said “Why don’t you do something about your skin? My God, it’s out of control!” Gee, thanks, Mr.Jensen. What a way to boost your students’ self-esteem.

Teenage Acne and Deprssion

Photo courtesy of Googl Imags
Photo courtesy of Googl Imags

Teeage Acne and Depression


I had another experience where one day I was going to my locker between classes to drop off some books. When I opened the locker up, a tube of foamy Clearasil (don’t know if they still make that stuff) fell out of my locker. The thing was, I didn’t put that in my locker. Someone else “planted” it in there, and I heard some snickering when it fell out of my locker. Not very good for the self-image either. So these things, and other similar experiences, just piled up one after another, and then I had to deal with my own internal struggles as far as hating the way my face looked, and then also trying to squeeze certain pimples only to have them swell bigger and/or cause more breakouts, and it was basically like a perfect storm for a self-image meltdown. That’s exactly what happened. Once I graduated high school and the acne worsened still, I started becoming an extreme introvert. I wouldn’t hardly ever go to any social events; I would just basically keep to myself, and do artwork like drawing & painting and so forth (stuff that required no human interaction). I remember one time I actually refused to go out to dinner with my family because I had just squeezed a zit near the bridge of my nose, and it was swollen really bad and made me look like I had just been in a fight. All of these things made me very, very depressed, and I simply felt hopeless. Nothing really changed until I decided to start changing my diet. If it’s one thing I learned that really stuck with me, it was that healthy skin starts from the inside out. I totally eliminated soft drinks out of my diet (they dehydrate the body and that can cause skin problems), I started drinking tons of water (around 10 twelve-ounce glasses a day), and I did my best to stay away from heavily oily or fried foods. Within only a few short months, my skin really started to show some improvement. Now, since I have stuck with those dietary changes for over a decade, my skin looks healthy and vibrant, and I’m definitely not depressed anymore. I will have to say that I also have increased in my spiritual life, and I know that has a lot to do with it. But, as far as teenage acne and depression goes, I would encourage every teenager to really take a good look at their diet, and commit to drinking water like it’s going out of style. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it; you have to ask yourself how bad you want it. Remember, healthy skin starts from the inside out. I truly hope that someone who is depressed due to acne may read this and have at least a new flicker of hope for change in the future. 


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