I have read many times that acne is a visible symptom of malnutrition. In this case the term malnutrition doesn't mean you aren't getting the calories, it means you aren't getting the nutrition your body needs to function properly. Many studies show that if you give your body all the right nutrients it will fight off both depression and acne, as well as many other obnoxious conditions.
Depression and acne often go hand in hand. Most people dismiss depression as just an unfortunate result of such a visible skin condition. However for almost 100 years visionary dermatologists have known there`s more to the connection.
Though these two conditions are different, they share similar causes. They can also form a vicious cycle where acne causes depression, and depression causes acne.
Let`s start by looking at the common causes for both conditions.
Substance P - The molecular link between feeling blue and acne
Dermatologists and psychologists have always known that stress aggravates acne. A neuropeptide called substance P (SP) is one way this can happen.
SP is considered one of the central neurotransmitters. It`s involved in both the physical and emotional side of the stress response. On the physical side injection of substance P increases the levels of inflammatory stress hormones. On the emotional side SP causes feelings of anxiety and stress, and chronically high levels can lead to depression.
Substance P and the skin
The skin is peppered with substance P receptors. During the stress response SP binds to the receptors in the skin. And while this is helpful in defending you against external harm, it can cause harm on the skin when it happens too often.
Research shows that substance P:
- Increases sebum production
- Increases inflammation on the skin
- Increase turnover of the skin cells
That`s 3 out of 3 for the primary causes of acne. Does this mean SP alone can cause acne? Scientists don`t know yet, but it is known that injection of SP in to the skin can cause psoriasis flares - even in people not prone to getting psoriasis.
Inflammation Acne and Depression
Chronic inflammation is another common feature in acne and depression. Research shows that depressed people have lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory vitamins and nutrients than non-depressed people. Also, omega 3 supplementation can ease depression.