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Can acne impact the quality of a child’s life? Experts say yes.

Posted at 7:40 AM, Nov 10, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Experts say 85 percent of adolescence will have some form of acne during the course of their teenage years, girls will start to form acne as young as nine and for boys, around 10.

There's no doubt that teen and pre-teen years are tough. It's a time where kids are trying to figure out who they are, often leading them to become self-conscious.

"When you have an adolescent who is already self-conscious during this time period of their development, it can be really challenging for them to maintain a good self-image," said Adelle Cadieux, a pediatric psychologist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Cadieux warns parents that their teens could get teased or bullied if their acne is severe. While it doesn't happen to everyone, when it does it hurts, impacting kids' quality of life. She says it can be very devastating to a child's self-esteem.

Outer appearance often affects how teens feel on the inside. In fact, studies show that acne has the power to generate feelings of guilt and shame, leading some teens to resort to social self-isolation.

"A lot of kids will feel very uncomfortable approaching social situations or may not want to go into activities where they know there will be a lot of kids around," Cadieux said. "They can also start having some pretty significant depression and anxiety when that occurs."

Beyond isolation and depression, those with acne may tie their skin issues with their overall sense of identity.

"I see a lot of teenagers come in for acne, and I think they -- even with me as their doctor -- hate me looking at their skin," said Rachel Laarman, pediatric dermatologist at Spectrum Health. "They don’t like to make eye contact ... I think it’s a sign of their developing their identify and a bit of their shame associated with how their skin works."

Laarman says clear skin starts with good hygiene and ends with a healthy diet, but they need support. That's where family comes in.

Cadieux recommends that parents help their kids feel good about themselves, their skills and their abilities.

There are several ways to treat acne. One of the most effective is a medication called Accutane. But while Accutane is effective, Laarman says the medication can actually make depression and anxiety worse.

If you're interested, talk to your doctor or set up an appointment with a dermatologist.