While numerous studies have explored the negative psychological impact of acne, a recent study has made a direct link between the perceived social stigma felt by people with acne and their quality of life.

Researchers surveyed 271 people with acne aged 18 to 51 years to investigate whether their perceptions of being stigmatised negatively affected their well-being – focusing on quality of life, levels of psychological distress, and physical symptoms including sleep disturbances and even respiratory issues.

The findings showed that participants who perceived high levels of acne stigma reported higher levels of psychological distress, anxiety and depression as well as physical symptoms.

Females in the study reported a greater quality of life impairment and more symptoms than males. Acne severity was significantly linked with health-related quality of life and psychological distress.

The researchers suggest that interventions to counter the effects of perceived stigma could improve the psychological and physical health of people with acne.

Introducing classes at primary level on how to cope with social stigma and/or similar workshops for adults with acne, were suggested as possible ways to improve health-related quality of life.

Also, “medical professionals and counsellors alike should place increased emphasis on social factors such as stigma when selecting suitable methods for managing the consequences of the condition”.

Find out more about the emotional impacts of acne