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J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010 Mar;9(1):59-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2010.00478.x.

Acne vulgaris and depression: a retrospective examination.

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Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1071, USA.



Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease that affects patients both physically and mentally.


To examine the prevalence of reported depression in acne patients.


Patient information was obtained from a medical claims database and analyzed using the Total Resource Utilization Benchmarks process. Benchmarks in this study include: age, gender, co-morbid depression, antidepressant utilization, and acne treatment modality. Depression prevalence in acne patients was compared with general population.


Depression was two to three times more prevalent in acne patients than in the general population, with a reported 8.8% of acne patients having clinical depression. The majority of cases of depression and antidepressant therapy utilization were observed in acne patients aged 18 and over with the highest percentage in the 36-64 age group. Approximately 65.2% of the acne patient population was female, with twice as many reported to have depression as males (10.6% females vs. 5.3% males).


This analysis included only patients that sought treatment for their acne and had also reported having clinical depression. This may underestimate the total prevalence of acne and associated depression.


Acne is a disease that affects people of all ages both physically and psychologically. A correlation exists between clinical depression and acne patients, particularly those older than 36. "There is no single disease which causes more psychic trauma and more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority and greater sums of psychic assessment than does acne vulgaris" (Sulzberger, 1948).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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