Acne is a very common, often cosmetically disfiguring, cutaneous condition of adolescence that is associated with increased sebaceous gland activity. We present the case of a patient with bulimia who reported that the negative effect of acne on her appearance increased her body image concerns and exacerbated her eating disorder. Improvement of the acne was associated with a significant improvement in her eating disorder. Eating disordered patients may go on restrictive diets in order to control their acne since levels of androgens, which are one of the primary stimulants of sebaceous gland activity, are lower in starvation. As a significant number of adolescents with eating disorders also develop acne, it is important for the clinician to be aware of this previously unreported association between acne and eating disorders, and to evaluate the impact of acne upon the patient’s body image and eating behaviour.
Gupta MA, Gupta AK, Ellis CN, Voorhees JJ