We all know how frustrating it is to have skin problems. Not only is it physically uncomfortable and undesirable, but studies have revealed that skin problems are more than just skin deep. They also have an effect on our psychological health. In fact, a mind-body connection exists. As accurately pointed out by the gastroenterologist, Roshini Raj, M.D., “The skin is a direct reflection of the body’s internal balance.”
It’s a vicious cycle. Psychological health can have effects on skin health, and vice versa. The best example of this is how high levels of stress can lead to acne. And in turn, acne can reduce self-esteem and lead to frustration. Unlike other sicknesses that are not visible to others, skin problems are very noticeable and often come unexpectedly. As a result, the development of these distressing skin conditions takes a toll on our psychological health, causing impacts such as low self-esteem, social withdrawal, and in extreme cases, depression and anxiety.
An American non-profit organization called National Rosacea Society undertook a survey among 1,675 patients with rosacea, a common skin condition that causes visible redness and irritation on the skin. The results showed that 90% of respondents said their skin condition caused a decrease in their self-esteem, 54% reported they experienced anxiety, and 43% suffered from depression. More and more people are checking into residential care homes because of mental illnesses that arose due to skin conditions. That’s how serious it is and proof that it should not be taken lightly.
Psychologists are now recognizing the correlation between the skin and the mind. Most are venturing out into psychodermatology, a field of psychology that addresses both physical and mental aspects of skin conditions. These psychologists have found that treating skin problems can improve mental and psychological conditions and vice versa. Ointments and medicines for skin treatment like antibacterials, anthralin, etc., are now being recommended by psychodermatologists to heal skin problems and alleviate its effects on the mental health of their patients.
Healthy Skin, Healthy Mind
People who have suffered skin problems have reported a loss of self-esteem, social withdrawal tendencies, anxiety, and depression. These victims of skin problems limit their living and avoid face-to-face contact with other people due to fear of embarrassment or shame. Survey results from the American Academy of Dermatology show that these people have been prompted to change their daily routines and have a lesser chance of employment and making valuable networks compared to those who do not have visible skin issues.
The effects of skin conditions on normal, day-to-day interactions and relationships can cause anxiety or depression for some people. Due to the fact that they have to endure different treatment compared to others who do not share the same sentiments, their psychological health takes a hit.
Although there are many factors to consider, one of the most practical and beneficial solutions is to engage in helpful and effective skincare routines. Not only is taking care of your skin a self-care activity that helps you relax and calm your mind, but the improvement in terms of skin health and go a long way into boosting self-esteem and improving mental health.
Alleviating skin problems and practicing self-care activities will inevitably lead to a more driven and better quality of life because of the scientific correlation of the skin’s health and overall wellness. Remember, with healthier skin comes a healthier mind.