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Acne Associated With a Higher Prevalence of Depression, Anxiety

A recent meta-analysis showed patients with acne had a higher prevalence for anxiety and depression.

In the systematic review, the researchers analyzed data from 42 studies that examined the association between acne vulgaris, depression, and anxiety. They used random effects analysis to compare depression and anxiety among individuals with and without acne, and performed subgroup analyses that moderated for age, study setting, and geographic region.

The researchers found depression and anxiety were more prevalent among individuals with acne compared with those without acne, and these findings were affirmed in sensitivity analyses.
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In subgroup analyses based on age, the researchers found depression was more prevalent in both adults and adolescents with acne compared with those without acne. The magnitude of this relationship was stronger for adults, they said. Subanalyses of anxiety showed similar results. However, the researchers noted that adults were overrepresented in clinical samples for both depression and anxiety.

The emotional cost of acne was higher in Middle Eastern regions compared with other parts of the world, but this could be influenced by overrepresentation of Middle Eastern samples, the researchers said.

“Because of increased risk for depression and anxiety, clinicians should pursue aggressive treatment of acne and consider psychiatric screening or referrals,” the researchers concluded.


Samuels DV, Rosenthal R, Lin R, Chaudhari S, Natsuaki MN. Acne vulgaris and risk of depression and anxiety: A meta-analytic review [Published online Feb 20, 2020]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2020.02.040


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