Toronto: Acne problem? You may be at higher risk of depression as researchers have found that patients with acne have significantly increased risk of developing major depression in the first five years after diagnosis.

"This study highlights an important link between skin disease and mental illness," said the lead author of the study Isabelle Vallerand, PhD student at the University of Calgary, Canada.

For the study, published in The British Journal of Dermatology, researchers included data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) from 1986 to 2012.

The database included 134,427 men and women with acne and 1,731,608 without and followed them for 15 years. Most were under 19 at the start of the study, though they ranged in age from seven to 50, The New York Times reported.

They found that the risk for major depression was highest within 1 year of acne diagnosis -- a 63 per cent higher risk compared with individuals without acne -- and decreased thereafter.

The results indicates that it is critical that physicians monitor mood symptoms in patients with acne and initiate prompt treatment for depression or seek consultation from a psychiatrist when needed, the researchers mentioned.

"Given the risk of depression was highest in the period right after the first time a patient presented to a physician for acne concerns, it shows just how impactful our skin can be towards our overall mental health," said Vallerand.

"For these patients with acne, it is more than a skin blemish -- it can impose significant mental health concerns and should be taken seriously."