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Published on June 26, 2023

Supporting Your Mental and Physical Health – Dealing With Acne Scars

Acne scars can be a source of emotional distress for many individuals, affecting their mental health and self-esteem. Living with acne scars can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. This post will discuss the impact of acne scars on mental health, as well as treatment and coping strategies that can help individuals to manage emotions and improve overall well-being.

Understanding the relationship between mental health and acne scars is important for anyone who has experienced this condition’s emotional and physical effects.

What Is Acne Scar?

Acne scars occur when acne breakouts penetrate the skin deeply and cause damage to the tissue beneath. It develops when the body tries to repair the damage caused by acne. When a pimple forms, the body produces collagen to heal it. However, in some cases, the collagen produced is not enough to fully heal the damage caused by the pimple. It leads to the formation of a scar. 

There are different types of acne scars, each formed by a specific type of acne. 

  • Ice pick scars are deep and narrow, resulting from cystic acne. 
  • Boxcar scars are wider and more shallow, caused by inflammatory acne. 
  • Rolling scars are broad and shallow, resulting from long-term inflammation.

Acne scarring has lasting effects on the skin, which can be distressing for those with it. It can cause discolouration and uneven texture and affect the face’s appearance. The scars themselves are permanent, and while they may fade with time, they will not completely disappear without treatment.

Who Gets the Psychological Effects of Acne Scarring?

Acne scars can profoundly impact a person’s mental health, as they can cause feelings of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. While anyone can be affected by the mental health impact of acne scars, certain groups may be more susceptible than others.

Adolescents and young adults

Acne is more common during these stages of life, and the social pressures to fit in and maintain a certain appearance can be especially intense during this time. Acne scars can make these individuals self-conscious, leading to social isolation, low self-esteem, and depression.


Women are often held to higher beauty standards than men, and acne scars can be seen as a flaw in their appearance. Women may feel pressured to cover up their scars with makeup or clothing, leading to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

People with mental health issues 

These groups of people may be more vulnerable to the impact of acne scars because they may already have low self-esteem or body dysmorphic disorder, which acne scars can exacerbate.

Signs That Acne Scar Is Impacting Your Mental Health

Acne scars are not just a physical problem; they can also significantly impact an individual’s mental health. Here are some indicators that acne scars may be adversely affecting an individual’s mental health:

  • Suffering from depression or emotional distress

People may feel ashamed or embarrassed of their physical appearance, leading to depression and anxiety. Over time, these negative thoughts can become overwhelming, making it difficult for individuals to manage their emotions.

  • Struggling with low self-esteem and negative body image

Low self-esteem and negative body image can make the individual feel insecure or uncomfortable in social situations, as they may fear that others are judging them based on their physical appearance.

  • Spending less time on social interactions and isolating oneself

Individuals distance themselves socially due to low self-esteem or fear of judgement by others. They may feel they cannot connect with friends and family because of their physical appearance, leading to isolation and loneliness.

  • Expressing unwillingness to accept the condition and its impact

Some individuals may be unwilling to accept the condition and its impact. They may try to hide the scarring or deny how it affects them emotionally, leading to further feelings of depression and anxiety. 

  • Changes in behavioural patterns as a result of mental health challenges

If acne scarring impacts an individual’s mental health, it may change their behaviour. It can manifest itself in the form of negative self-talk and lack of motivation.  

Treatment and Coping Strategies 

Acne scars can negatively impact mental health and psychological well-being. However, some effective tips and treatments exist to manage mental health and address the psychological implications of acne scars.

Practise general self-care techniques to promote mental well-being.

A well-maintained skin can help boost confidence and self-esteem. It includes cleansing the skin regularly, using a moisturizer, and avoiding harsh products that could further damage the skin. Exercise also helps improves mood, reduce stress, and boost self-confidence. Regular exercise with a healthy diet can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness exercises can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and promote relaxation. Individuals with acne scars can improve their mental health and well-being by reducing stress.

Undergo psychological counselling to address emotional changes.

Psychological counselling can help individuals manage their emotions in positive ways. It would help them to better manage stress, grieve losses, and increase self-esteem. Counsellors would also guide in coping with the emotional effects of having acne scars.

Consider management therapies for acne scars.

Laser treatments, RF microneedling, chemical peels, and dermabrasion can improve the appearance of scars by stimulating collagen production and reducing inflammation. In addition, topical creams containing retinoids or other active agents can reduce scarring. These therapies should be discussed with a dermatologist to decide the best course of treatment for an individual.

Concluding Thoughts: Caring for Your Mental Health

Acne scars can profoundly impact mental health, often leading to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Understanding the connection between acne scars and mental health is important to properly address any adverse effects. With the right guidance and support, you’ll be able to find the inner strength needed to tackle those emotions and take back control of your life. Remember: Your scars are part of your journey but do not define who you are.

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