Uncomfortable in your skin? 56% say scars, acne impact their mental health

NEW YORK — The average person feels confident only four days a week. Much of that has to do with how their skin looks.

A survey of 2,000 adults looked at how people have overcome challenges to feel better about their blemished skin and found that a fresh change to their appearance like a facial or haircut (52%), wearing their favorite clothes (48%), or compliments (46%) gives them that extra boost of confidence.

The data shows that generally, people are over being ashamed of their scars and imperfections, with 81 percent admitting they wouldn’t feel like themselves without them. Acne (30%), stretchmarks (29%), and surgery scars (28%) are just some of the blemishes that people used to be insecure about for a long time.

However, many have been inspired by celebrity scar stories like Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant scar (21%), and Seal’s lupus scar (21%). In fact, 78 percent say speaking about their scar stories helped them heal emotionally.

Three in five Americans add they’d like to see more characters with visible flaws on the big screen (63%) and 60 percent think this would help them feel more represented.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the scar treatment brand Mederma, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the survey found that 65 percent used to go to great lengths to cover up their imperfections or wear clothes to hide them — but 54 percent feel like they’re not being true to themselves when they do.

Wearing imperfections perfectly

Now, most of those who have easily visible scars on their body (851) say it makes them feel empowered (68%) and unique (80%). The results also reveal that 86 percent are even comfortable with sharing the story of how they got their scar, with a similar percentage agreeing they’d talk to others about it if it helped them feel more confident about theirs, too (88%).

It may have taken a long time for people to gain this confidence, though. More than half of Americans deal with low confidence often (56%). This may be because 59 percent are worried that others will notice imperfections that they notice about themselves. A similar percentage say concern over how their blemishes look to others has had a negative impact on their mental health (56%).

“We know that feeling confident in our perceived imperfections goes a long way toward improving mental health,” says HRA Pharma America President, Bradley Meeks, in a statement. “But confidence comes at its own pace, and this survey shows that getting to the point of empowerment in our appearance comes in different ways.”

Sixty-one percent say they’re mentally at a place where they’ve conquered their insecurities and 56 percent agree that owning their insecurities helps them feel empowered. More than a third of those with scars were able to mentally and emotionally heal with advice from those with similar scars or imperfections (38%).

“Hearing others’ scar stories is an important step towards debunking the negative reception of scars in media and everyday life,” Meeks says. “This is especially true for the 78 percent who said that they were able to heal emotionally after speaking on their own scar stories.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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