Oxidative stress and psychiatric morbidity in patients with facial acne

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Acne vulgaris is a common cosmetic problem that is frequently associated with psychosocial disturbances as well as increased oxidative stress. However, oxidative stress and psychological aspects have been studied separately in acne.


To evaluate the relationships between oxidative stress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life in acne patients.


Sixty patients with facial acne and 40 age- and sex-matched healthy individuals were included in the study. Anxiety and depression were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and quality of life (QoL) was measured by the Cardiff Acne Disability Index. Disease severity was assessed using the Combined Acne Severity Classification. The serum levels of zinc and malondialdehyde (MDA) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were measured in patients and healthy subjects.


The mean HADS scores for anxiety and depression were higher in patients than controls (P<.001 for both). Acne patients showed higher serum MDA and lower TAC and serum zinc levels compared with control subjects (P=.019, P<.001, and P=.028, respectively). Anxiety and depression scores did not correlate with oxidative stress parameters. Patients with moderate/severe acne had worse anxiety scores than mild acne (P=.048), and higher anxiety scores were associated with poorer quality of life (r=.436, P=.001).


Our results indicate that the high levels of anxiety and depression in patients with facial acne were not related to oxidative stress. Anxiety was more common than depression and was directly related to QoL impairment.

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