All about acne

Information for parents

Acne can be very distressing, particularly during the teenage years when people feel particularly self-conscious about how they look. So it is important to offer them lots of support. Having acne can have a negative effect on people’s quality of life and self-esteem, affecting social activities and how people feel about themselves. The impact can be as profound as for health conditions that are traditionally considered more ‘serious’, such as asthma and diabetes.


Acne can often cause intense feelings of anxiety and stress, which can sometimes make people become socially withdrawn. This combination of factors can lead to depression. Your child may be depressed if during the last month:

  • they have often felt down, depressed, or hopeless and
  • they have little interest, or pleasure, in doing things

If you think that your child may have depression, it is important that you encourage them to get help by speaking to their GP. The charity provides a website and helpline for teenagers and young people with emotional and other difficulties, which they may find useful. 

Encourage a person with acne to get effective treatment

There is currently no complete ‘cure’ for acne, but the treatments that are available can be very effective in preventing the formation of new spots and scarring so encourage your child, or friend with acne to get advice on treatment. When they have treatment for their acne, help them to use it correctly so that they get maximum benefit. They need to follow the instructions on the pack. Some acne treatments take several weeks before they achieve much improvement, so encourage your child or friend to keep using their treatment as recommended

Understanding the impact of acne

A survey of 504 teenagers with acne and 500 parents of teenagers suggested that many parents might underestimate the negative impact of acne:

  • 69% of parents claimed they were “supportive and understanding” about acne, but only 48% of the teenagers thought they were
  • 15% of parents considered their teenager experienced body image issues because of acne; 36% of the teenagers said they had body image issues
  • 9% of parents thought their teenagers were “angry” as a result of acne. 25% of the teenagers said they were angry

The survey findings indicated that although parents do care, they might not understand the full impact that acne can have.