Acne Causes Teens to Keep Off Social Media


The Harris Poll surveyed 1,010 teens aged 15–19 with acne about confidence. The outcome showed 71% of participants with acne have a negative outlook on their attractiveness and body image, while 67% said their self-esteem was negatively impacted, both of which channel into anxiety in video calling or posting photos on social media.

Additionally, 72% of teens who have acne agree most people their age are self-conscious about their skin appearance on social media, 68% believe most of their peers with acne edit or alter their posted images to hide it, and 58% of adolescents who have acne offered to take a photo so as to not be in the picture.

At 51%, about half the teens in the study say social media makes having acne more difficult and makes them feel unattractive and 45% say they are embarrassed to post photos of themselves. Many teens suffering with acne will avoid photos, edit images or untag pictures, while others stay off social media altogether.

Further Results

Results also showed the following about teens:

  • 37% with moderate to severe acne are most concerned about returning to school in the fall
  • 86% said acne makes their peers less confident in moving forward or progressing with their lives
  • 85% agree most people their age worry about acne
  • 62% who had acne are concerned about it
  • 34% of teens with acne avoid video chatting

School Counselor Insights

Anne L.P. Flenner, professional school counselor and past-president of the Florida Counseling Association commented on the concern she has for teens who are refraining from social media due to their skin appearances.

“As school counselors, we see every day the profound impact that acne can have on teenagers' self-image, confidence, acceptance and social relationships, at an already challenging time in their lives,” she said. “One of my takeaways from The Harris Poll was that the social isolation sought by many teens who are anxious about their acne is now transitioning into a reluctance to engage in the most popular form of peer communication among teens today—social media—a concerning insight. We would all like our teens to spend less time on social media, but not because they're embarrassed by their appearance.”

“Parents of teens who are struggling with acne should seek the medical care of a dermatologist, who may prescribe medications to successfully manage this condition,” added Flenner.

The infographic below explains more: 

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