For the overwhelming majority of teenagers out there, bad skin ranks anywhere from a minor inconvenience to a social disaster. The stereotypical scene where a teenager prepares for that first big date or first major school dance only to wake up the morning of with a giant pimple that deserves its own zip code right in the middle of the forehead has become a staple of coming-of-age tales.
But for a growing number of teenagers, severe acne can be an emotionally, psychologically and physically debilitating condition that can push an already fragile psyche right over the edge into severe depression or even suicide. Teenagers already are the most likely group to suffer from serious, life-threatening depression, but when you add in the complete social exiling that severe acne can cause, the natural leap to suicide can be inevitable.
A recent study conducted in New Zealand bears out this hypothesis. The study showed that those teenagers that suffer from acne, even those with relatively mild cases, at least think about suicide far more frequently than anyone ever thought. The true impact of bad skin on teen social interaction is far greater than even the most critical of analysis suspected. As it turns out, the old saying, "Kids can be so cruel" is far truer than anyone ever wanted to admit.
So, if you are a parent of a teen that is beginning to show the signs of severe acne or if you have had a child previously who suffered from severe acne, what can you do to help protect them? Short of pulling them out of school and teaching them at home, the best thing to do is to take them to a doctor and see what prescription acne medication is available to them, and as a parent, it is your job to watch for signs of depression or isolation every day.
Signs of depression in teenagers includes a persistent or constant sad, angry or empty mood that endures for weeks on end. Every teenager gets depressed after a particularly bad day at school or after a poor performance on a test or after a tough breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend, but a persistent state of sadness is not normal for anyone of any age. Try talking to your teen. If communication is not your specialty, try to see if you can get your teen to a mental health professional for guidance.
Other key signs that your teenager might be depressed are a constant state of pessimism or always taking a negative view point on everything. Again, being pessimistic is normal once in a while, but it should not be a constant state of looking at the world.
If your teenager has a particular hobby or interest that has endured through childhood but suddenly disappears from their lives, this can be a sure sign that something serious is wrong. Of course, children out grow playthings and toys and even favourite movies and television shows, but things like drawing, painting and music tend to stay with them throughout their lives. If you see a sudden complete loss of interest in these types of things, in conjunction with these other signs, intervention might be a good idea.