Sometimes it seems we can’t catch a break. We’re stressed or depressed, or maybe anxious about something and then a breakout or flare of eczema or other skin irritation occurs. When it rains it pours, right?
Actually your mood affects your skin, and your skin affects your mood. It can be hard to tell which comes first, but there is a real link between depression and anxiety and skin problems. The study of this connection is called psychodermatology.
Yes, there’s a science for the combination of skin issues and emotional upheaval.
Psychodermatology combines dermatology with psychiatry, addressing mental and emotional symptoms that come with skin issues.
When our mood is off and we experience stressful feelings it sets off a cascade of hormonal reactions in our body.
These reactions take energy away from the skin and direct it towards our major organs and muscles. That means our skin doesn’t get the nourishment, oxygen, and waste removal it needs to perform its best. That leads to clogged pores and greater potential for skin irritation.
When we don’t look our best we can feel self conscious.
People who deal with acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis often experience even more stress around being social with other people. The social relationships we need in order to be healthy humans become then produce anxiety for us as we worry about how our appearance is perceived by others. This added stress around social situations can actually prolong the skin flare, and cause us to withdraw and become further depressed.
No matter the skin condition the stress they all produce is real. The cycle can become a nasty feedback loop, keeping skin aggravated and mood low.
Breaking the cycle is key, and that means building confidence and self assurance even when skin is not yet completely clear. Even if you are still dealing with occasional flares you can feel much better about yourself, and continue living your life much more normally. Learning strategies to cope with stress and working on self compassion and self love can help give you the calm, fresh start your skin needs.
Spending time sharing your experiences with other people dealing with chronic skin problems can also help, as it then feels more normal.
Millions of people are dealing with these same challenges, so you are not alone.
Recovery may be something that will take some time, so be patient and stay as positive as you can. Get professional help as needed, and your skin and mind can be clear and comfortable again.
Here is a link to a resource that may help: Holistic Skin Circle
Author: Julie Longyear
Julie has been digging through scientific studies for cool new discoveries about skin health since 2004. Her own confused, disrupted skin took her on a long path filled with lots of surprises. She put her chemistry knowledge to work to help improve complex, chronic skin problems, and has helped thousands of clients with the knowledge she gained. She firmly believes that everyone deserves to feel good about their skin.