Living with Acne

In today's article, you'll learn everything you need to know about living with acne and why some people need help with it.
Living with Acne

Last update: 16 December, 2022

Although it’s not often talked about, living with acne isn’t easy for everyone. Therefore, although there are those who have the ability to downplay it, there are people who find it difficult to do so for various reasons.

The aesthetic impact of this disease affects self-esteem and can cause significant psychological distress. And although this impact may vary from person to person, it’s present to a greater or lesser extent.

According to a study published in the Mexican journal Dermatology, “although it seems like a disease that has no major significance because most cases improve before the age of 25, the scars and the psychological repercussions that it triggers can be as important as those of other chronic diseases.”

Among these repercussions, anxiety and depression stand out, but also suicidal ideations. Therefore, we’re not talking about a trivial matter.

Professional support

A man offering emiotional support to a woman.
Mental health professionals can be of great help in these circumstances.

Although there’s a tendency to think that acne’s a problem that should only be treated at the skin level with a dermatologist, in reality, this isn’t the case. In many cases, a therapeutic strategy is needed that goes beyond the use of certain external care products and measures. Emotional support is also necessary inside and outside the doctor’s office.

As stated in an opinion piece titled The Emotional Impact of Dermatologic Disease, external care in combination with psycho-emotional care is positive and necessary for people living with acne.

With good communication, dermatologists can not only promote adherence to treatment but can promote satisfaction with it. This also facilitates referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist, if applicable, in a friendly way.

Emotional care

Understanding and accepting that acne can have an emotional impact is a big step for every patient with this condition. Above all, because it invites you to include a space for emotional care in your daily cleaning and care routine.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that, when living with acne, it’s normal to:

  • Experience a loss of confidence
  • Feel ashamed, hopeless, and out of control. The latter is because patients often find that, even when taking care of themselves, acne’s difficult to control. At the same time, they may compare themselves with other people constantly. Therefore, a person living with acne who tries to take care of their skin can feel very frustrated when they see that another person who sleeps with makeup on and doesn’t wash their face in the morning has flawless skin.
  • Be frustrated until they find the right acne treatment.
  • Feel that everything in life revolves around acne. Conversations, needs, etc.

If you have problems managing all of the above, professional help (from the psychologist or psychiatrist) will be an important resource. It shouldn’t be underestimated, as it can contribute greatly to well-being.

At the same time, learning and applying daily strategies to manage stress and making time for leisure and enjoyment on a regular basis are good ways to take care of yourself during acne treatment (and even after).

Getting emotional support from loved ones is also important when living with acne. Don’t hesitate to request it.

Physical care

Although it’s often taken for granted that patients will try to take care of themselves beyond what their treatment includes, this isn’t always the case. Therefore, it’s a good idea to remember the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.

Habits such as diet, exercise, and sleep don’t solve problems (skin or otherwise), but they contribute greatly to overall well-being and promote the effectiveness of treatments. It could be said that they’re the most effective “reinforcement” for what a professional recommends.


Healthy foods, including fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Eating healthy helps the mind and body.

Regarding the relationship between diet and acne, there are still some discrepancies. However, it’s undeniable that a balanced diet contributes to health, even when it comes to living with acne.

Experts in dermatology explain that, rather than trying to follow an anti-acne diet, the best thing to do would be to maintain a balanced diet in which excessive consumption of dairy products, foods with a high glycemic index, sources of sugar, and saturated fats is avoided.

This is because evidence has been found that these types of foods deteriorate the health of the skin and promote the appearance (or worsening, as the case may be) of breakouts.

It’s not necessary or advisable to take drastic measures at mealtimes, which involve the elimination of one or more foods. It’s best to avoid excesses and follow your doctor’s recommendations.


Exercising won’t make acne go away, but it will go a long way toward promoting physical and mental health. Regarding the latter, exercise can significantly contribute to improving self-confidence and security, as well as alleviating anxiety and depression.

Daily guidelines for living with acne

Along with all that has been said, it’s important to apply the following:

  • Don’t touch your face: Trying to remove pimples and “do a home cleaning” will only make acne worse and spread it to other areas of the skin. If what you want is a good cleaning, go to your dermatologist or an esthetician that the professional refers you to.
  • Use a suitable moisturizer daily (non-comedogenic and oil-free), after each cleansing.
  • Use sunscreen daily. Preferably one specially designed for acne-prone skin.
  • Apply special makeup for skin with acne (and that doesn’t have an oily base).
  • Remove makeup before going to sleep with the right cleansers.
  • Follow all the dermatologist’s recommendations regarding acne treatment.

If you have any questions about how to proceed with a product, notice a deterioration, or have any other concerns or discomfort, it’s best to consult a dermatologist. You shouldn’t try your luck with over-the-counter products or homemade recipes without your professional’s permission.

  • Guerra-Tapia, A., Asensio Martínez, and J. García Campayo. 2015. “The Emotional Impact of Skin Diseases.” Actas Dermo-Sifiliograficas 106 (9): 699–702.

  • Hazarika, Neirita, and M. Archana. 2016. “The Psychosocial Impact of Acne Vulgaris.” Indian Journal of Dermatology 61 (5): 515–20.

  • Hull, Peter R., and Carl D’Arcy. 2005. “Acne, Depression, and Suicide.” Dermatologic Clinics. W.B. Saunders.

  • Saldaña M, Fierro-Arias L. Acné y depresión. Dermatol Rev Mex. 2019;63(Supl. 1):S18-S24.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.