• 95% of young Aussies feel self-conscious and almost half of young Aussies feel depressed because of their skin
• A quarter are being bullied because of their skin, with one in four admitting to being scarred for life because of hurtful comments they have received about their skin
• Experts are calling on Australians to focus on healing their skin from the inside out and to find happiness within their own skin
Shocking new research reveals the mental health of Australian youth is spiralling and the way we look is at the root of the problem, with young adults falling victim to bullying and insecurity all because of their skin.
Young Aussies (18-24 years old) have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group1, and the research reveals the pressure to look a certain way is mounting, with a staggering 95% feeling self-conscious and almost one in two (43%) feeling depressed because of their skin.
Yet cruelly those experiencing mental health issues find themselves in a vicious cycle with stress, anxiety and depression known to contribute to acne and skin conditions2.
Psychologist, Jemma Doley said skin conditions like acne are well-documented to have significant impacts on mental health.
“It is shocking to see the mental health impact skin is having – studies from around the world indicate that acne has a negative effect on self-esteem, for people of all age groups, and that the more severe the acne, the stronger this impact can be. Additionally, acne has been linked with mental health problems including anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life,” Ms Doley said.
“The teenage years are typically a time of life which is associated with increased feelings of self-consciousness, where teenagers’ sense of self can be influenced significantly by their physical appearance.
“This reduction in self-esteem may lead to changes in behaviour, such as avoiding social situations or saying no to opportunities, because of a fear of having their skin negatively evaluated by others,” she said.
Worryingly, a quarter (24%) admit to being bullied because of their skin, with one in four (27%) admitting to being scarred for life because of hurtful comments they have received about their skin.
Sadly, the impact is that almost two-thirds (59%) of young Aussies now hate photos of themselves, 40% edit images of themselves to hide their skin and a quarter (23%) can’t leave home without wearing make-up.
“More and more we are comparing ourselves with others through social media. We are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic images on social media, which can lead us to feel self-conscious, isolated and different,” Ms Doley said.
Skincare expert and SkinB5 Founder, Judy Cheung-Wood, encouraged people to seek treatment for their acne – and learn to love their skin again.
“It is painful to see young people hiding behind make-up and filters, while struggling deeply with insecurities – and, as the research highlighted, depression and bullying because of their skin,” Ms Cheung-Wood said.
“It is possible to manage acne – and like mental health – there are many treatments available and a range of factors such as diet, lifestyle, skincare habits and even supplements are known to help improve skin conditions. The key is to think holistically for a lasting outcome.
“Your health professional – local pharmacist, GP, dermatologist – can help you identify what type of acne it is and what the most effective treatment options for you are to manage acne in the short and long term,” she said.
With half of Australian adults facing mental ill-health issues at some point in their lives3, Aussies are encouraged to focus on healing their skin from the inside out and to find happiness within their own skin.
Those struggling with their mental health are encouraged seek support from an GP or Psychologist. For urgent support, 24 hours a day, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and speak to a telephone counsellor.
In 2006, Judy Cheung-Wood launched her home-grown Australian business, SkinB5. Judy’s own journey in healing her acne inspired her to get into the skincare business, which has now helped to successfully treat thousands of acne sufferers across the globe to regain their confidence.
About Jemma Doley
Jemma Doley is a Registered Psychologist and Coach with a passion for positive psychology and helping people to achieve their health and wellbeing goals.
About the Research & Citations
The research by SkinB5 was carried out on a national representative sample of 2,010 Australians aged 18 and over in January 2022. Methodology: The data sample was weighted against ABS data for age, gender and location using an online survey that is independently conducted and verified by PureProfile.