Last Updated on September 20th, 2019
To this day, most dermatologists and doctors agree that there is no single cause or cure for acne, although there are many identifiable contributors, exacerbators and agitators of the infliction. But recent studies may be indicating that individuals prone to acne are significantly more likely to also have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) than those with other types of skin-related problems.
Article Table of Contents
Dr. Madhuka A. Gupta, MD, of the University of Western Ontario in London, performed a study with her colleagues to examine1 the possibility of a link between these two health issues. They collected and examined data from skin condition-related doctor appointments in a 13-year period, from 1995 to 2008, looking for visits that also involved ADHD-related appointments.
The results of the study showed that compared to other skin conditions, acne was twice as likely to be associated with ADHD. This number accounts for several possible confounding factors, like age, sex, stimulant medications, comorbid anxiety or depressive disorders, and atopic dermatitis.
These findings are supported by a different study published in Pediatric Dermatology, which found that acne was often found in participants with ADHD2. However, this study did not include a control group and thus may not be the most reliable source. Finally, one other study conducted in 2016 found that there was no connection between acne and ADHD3. So far, the research on ADHD and acne is inconclusive, but future research is vital to better understanding acne, ADHD, and the brain-skin connection.
First of all, Gupta recommends that those suffering from acne should be screened for ADHD particularly if they complain about the classic symptoms4, which are difficulty regulating attention, intense sensitivity to rejection, and poor working memory.
In fact, these classic symptoms may be the only distinguishable symptoms between those who suffer from ADHD-related acne and regular acne. The children and teenagers who suffer from acne and ADHD externally look no different than those who do not have ADHD-related acne.
As interesting as it is to consider the possibility of a relationship between acne and ADHD, it’s important to remember that the research is largely inconclusive and any association may be purely coincidental. This is because ADHD and acne are both very common among teenagers, and as such, those who suffer from both might just be unlucky.
The findings from the Gupta study are considered preliminary and still need to undergo the process of “peer review,” where other experts weigh in on the subject and the results to confirm whether or not this link really exists.
To be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of clear, healthy skin.