Emphasis on psychological impact of acne

NEW NICE guidance emphasises the importance of supporting the mental health of individuals severely affected by acne.

The new guideline is the first by NICE to address acne vulgaris and offers recommendations on pharmacological and photodynamic therapies.

Most individuals (95 per cent) will experience some acne in their teens and early 20s, and around 3 per cent of the population have acne past the age of 35.

The type and severity of acne can vary but evidence suggests that any form of acne can cause a person to experience psychological distress and in some cases can be a part of, or contribute to, a mental health disorder. The guideline advises clinicians to consider referral to mental health services where appropriate, especially for those with a current or past history of severe depression or anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder, suicidal ideation and self-harm.

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: “Acne affects most of us at some point in our lives, and while it is usually limited to a few facial spots in our teenage years, for some people it is more severe and can impact on their self-esteem and mental health. Not everyone with acne will experience high levels of psychological distress, but it’s important that we find ways to support those who do.

“With this new guideline it is our hope that people whose acne affects their everyday lives are offered the support they need to treat the condition, both physically and mentally.”

Link: Acne vulgaris: management