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Could Acne Lead to Teen Suicide?

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Acne is a self-esteem killer. Here's how you can help salvage it.

We spend our kids' whole lives telling them how wonderful, special and beautiful they are. Then they hit the teen years, hormones kick in and bam! zits. For some kids, acne is not just an occasional flare-up but a major problem, causing their confidence goes out the window.

teen tween girl worried about acne and skin

Pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson says, "Depending on the type, acne is something that can be either treated at home, by your tween or teen's pediatrician, or by a dermatologist. Whether or not you should treat acne medically, versus using an over-the counter treatment, really depends on your child."

She says there are two main things to consider:

Is the acne really bothering your child?
"If it doesn't bother your kid, or the problem is not that major, you might just want to treat it with a cleanser or over-the-counter treatment, though I would try to avoid products with alcohol," Dr. Cara says.

How does the kid feel about his/herself?
"If the acne is taking a toll on a child's self-image and he or she is really miserable, it's time to get more aggressive with treatment," Dr. Cara says. "The main benefit of treating acne is an improvement in self-esteem."

Depression and anxiety are more common in those with acne than the general population. Even those with mild acne are just as likely to suffer from these conditions as those with more severe cases. In fact, a landmark study found that a third of teens with problem acne have had suicidal thoughts. Studies have shown that most people experience a significant improvement of self-esteem and quality of life with the improvement of acne.
before and after acne gallery see more photos
Check out our Before and After Acne Gallery

If you want to seek treatment, go to Acne Kills Teen Self-Esteem, Page 2 for Dr. Cara's recommended most common courses of action.

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
praying4baby#2 September 23, 2008, 1:12 PM

For anyone who is suffering with acne, PRO-ACTIV changed my face entirely!! I only wish I had used that stuff years ago!! It’s really worth a shot.
A lot of the acne has to do with hormones, and Pro-Activ was the answer!

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amy September 25, 2008, 3:58 PM

My daughter had acne hit when she was 15. I didn’t think it was “that bad”, but to her it was unbearable!! We tried Pro-Activ and others. Finally went to a dermatologist who treated her with creams and soaps, no oral antibiotics, and it took about 4 months, but her skin cleared up and is still stunning (she’s 17 now] and still following the same regimen.And what a HUGE improvement in her self esteem. It’s worth all the time and money!!!

Jenny February 9, 2009, 4:08 PM

Having suffered with bad skin for almost 20 years, I know how this is. Proactive helped me a little, but not enough. Plus, it bleaches just about anything you come into contact with. I now have permanetly bleached face spots on all my pillow cases and had to throw away several shirts with bleached collars. Still looking for that miracle cure…

Anonymous May 26, 2009, 10:26 AM

I got acne middle of sophmore year and now its the end of my junior year and is still pretty bad i just cant take it anymore and i have thought of suicide because it.

Anonymous May 26, 2009, 10:29 AM

suicide is on my mind because of acne

Anonymous September 27, 2009, 9:26 AM

Why is this article just about teen acne? Try having it from the age of 12 to my current age of 31 and then I can see suicidal thoughts become more prevalent. Its only become worse with age and of the cystic variety that leads to long term scarring. Yes I use Proactiv and a host of other gels and creams and lotions but they only have an affect on surface acne and not the cystic kind. Kill me now.

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Dustin June 26, 2010, 10:45 PM

I have always had good skin. by that i mean i only had the occasional blemish but with patience and a little help it would heal up. but now im 17 and towards te middle end of this last skool year my face started to break out. now i have about 15 little red spots on each of my cheeks. im having no luck with them. i have had a few thoughts of just ending it all. but when im able to step back and think about it, i see how it truely is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

butterfly October 17, 2010, 1:28 AM


i have ance scaring and mine got worse after i had my son at 20 years old today it bothers me alot these thoughts of suicide and hating yourself cause of these awfull scaring anoynomous i hope all the best for u im considering chemical peels i cant live with it either there should of been no such thing as acne its such a awfull thing to live with but im so happy i have a supportaive spouse to me i think my skins really bad but he says its not im hoping i can fix this no matter what i did too take care of my face it just never worked :) take care and be strong

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