Young adults skip classes, social gatherings and exams obsessing over ‘bad skin’

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Young adults are skipping classes, social gatherings and exams – due to ‘bad skin’, which affects 59 per cent on a daily basis.

The poll, of 1,000 16-24 year-olds, found almost seven in 10 want to ‘normalise’ having problem skin and feel acne and other imperfections should be more widely represented in the beauty industry.

And half admitted that lockdown has heightened their appearance anxiety.

Just over five in 10 young adults even said there was a strong correlation between how bad they perceived their skin to be and their mental health.

A quarter said acne ‘badly’ impacts their self-confidence, so much so, they don’t want to meet new people when experiencing an outbreak.

Alarmingly, 16 per cent said they have considered harming themselves when they are having a bad skin day, with those aged 16-18 years-old, most likely to feel this way (19 per cent).

More than one in five (22 per cent) also said having bad skin made them feel depressed, with 45 per cent naming spots as their main concern when it comes to their appearance.

A spokesperson for the Bior x Ditch the Label Skin Esteem campaign, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s hard to see that skin concerns negatively impact a young person’s life so much, as it’s such a normal thing for young people to go through.

“Seeing that people would resort to harming themselves during a bad episode proves that something must change.

“We need to begin to ‘normalise’ real skin and common concerns such as acne.”

The survey also found women are more likely to obsess about their bad skin in the mirror (46 per cent).

But men are more likely to skip social events and job interviews when going through a bad patch (15 and 19 per cent respectively).

It also revealed 65 per cent compare their own appearance to people on social media, despite 76 per cent thinking its unhealthy to do so.

And 57 per cent feel social media has made them more insecure about skin concerns.

More than half (53 per cent) are scared people will say nasty things about their appearance while 50 per cent have been subject to these hurtful comments.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found more than half feel the way their skin looks is the most important thing about their appearance.

As a result, 72 per cent feel compelled to cover up their issues with social media filters, while 45 per cent wear a full face of makeup to disguise imperfections.

A spokesperson for the Bior x Ditch the Label Skin Esteem campaign added: “Social media is a powerful tool but is often used in the wrong ways.

“We must ensure that vulnerable young people are able to recognise that social media is not always as real as it may seem.

“In order to normalise real skin, we must stop the nasty comments and unattainable standards.

“Research has consistently highlighted appearance-based bullying as one of the biggest challenges facing young people today.

“Indeed, this survey suggests young people live in fear of someone saying something mean and how it dangerously impacts their mental health.

“This should not be the case and raising awareness combined with accurate representation is the first step to take.

“June is Acne Awareness Month, so let’s all embrace what is natural and very common and not see it as a bad thing.”

Skincare brand Bior and youth charity Ditch the Label’s Skin Esteem campaign provides support for young people whose self-esteem and confidence is suffering as a result of skin related appearance anxiety.

The impact of skin conditions

  1. Obsessing over your skin in the mirror (37 per cent)
  2. Picking at your skin until it bleeds (34 per cent)
  3. Being too scared to meet new people (25 per cent)
  4. Not being able to leave your house (22 per cent)
  5. Refusing to go out with someone (19 per cent)
  6. Missing a social gathering with a group of friends (19 per cent)
  7. Considering harming yourself (16 per cent)
  8. Skipping school/college or university lectures (15 per cent)
  9. Losing out on an exciting opportunity (14 per cent)
  10. Missing out on a school trip (10 per cent)
  11. Being stood up a date (10 per cent)
  12. Missing your friend’s birthday (10 per cent)
  13. Missing a job interview (9 per cent)
  14. Missing an exam (8 per cent)