From the different ways it impacts your overall health, to the influence it has on your physical appearance, it’s no surprise that the mind-skin connection has been an ongoing topic of research for many, many decades.
Yet, when most of us think about the relationship between our skin and mental health, we tend to only consider the ways our mental well-being affects our skin. For instance, when people feel stressed out or anxious, they may start to develop acne. But the mind-skin connection is not a one-way street. When we suffer from specific skin issues like eczema, acne, or rosacea, for example, our mental health is at stake. Let’s take a closer look:
1. The Effect of Eczema on Stress Levels
Atopic dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema, is a medical term used to describe a group of skin rashes that cause the skin to become inflamed, red, and/or irritated. People with this disease will generally experience symptoms before the age of five and may or may not continue to deal with the issue throughout their adulthood. Even though the specific cause of atopic dermatitis remains unknown, a combination of environmental factors and genetics are believed to be the main reason for its development.
Stress, for instance, is one of the many environmental factors that can worsen the symptoms of eczema. When your body produces too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, your immune system can become suppressed, which can lead to the inflammatory response in the skin. To make matters worse, the communication between your brain and body during an inflammatory response can also negatively impact your mental health. This is because the eczema flare-ups that surface due to stress, can sometimes cause a person to become even more stressed, which can ultimately stimulate an ongoing skin-brain battle for eczema patients.
Fortunately, with a little extra TLC, eczema can be easily managed. If you have eczema, you should either consult your physician about topical antiseptics or steroids, or soothe symptoms using certain creams, moisturizers, and other natural products. Additionally, making dietary changes and practicing self-care activities like journaling or meditation can also be an effective way to prevent flare-ups and manage stress.
2. The Effect of Acne on Self-Esteem and Appearance
Acne vulgaris (AV)— the medical term for common acne— is a chronic skin condition that presents in noninflammatory lesions, inflammatory lesions, or a combination of both. In other words, blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of pimples that appear on the skin. Arguably, acne is one of the biggest complaints dermatologists hear about as it tends to affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.
In fact, one recent study revealed the powerful influence acne can have on your self-esteem and self-image. In particular, researchers found that people who have chronic AV are more likely to have lower self-esteem, which can be associated with or lead to other health complications such as anxiety and/or depression. On account of this, chronic AV patients will oftentimes isolate themselves from social gatherings because they feel a sense of shame or guilt in relation to their physical appearance.
Although the severity of the condition varies from person-to-person, most people who have acne can treat it with a prescription acne formula or other over-the-counter treatments. But, in order to figure out which option is best for you and your complexion, it’s a good idea to evaluate your skin type and read the listed ingredients on skin products and medications before using.
3. The Effect of Rosacea on Anxiety and Depression
Similar to acne, rosacea— a common skin disease that causes facial redness and inflammatory lesions— has also been linked with anxiety and depression. Despite the fact that rosacea mainly affects fair-skinned, middle-aged adults, this condition is estimated to affect roughly 14 million Americans today.
A 2017 literature review can allow us to better understand the connection between rosacea, anxiety, and depression. From further investigation, the researchers were able to conclude that people with rosacea are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression, and therefore, less likely to attend social situations, even if they really want to go.
While there is a wide array of treatment options available for rosacea patients, there is no definitive cure for this condition. Still, to temporarily relieve the signs and symptoms of rosacea, skin experts recommend using an oral antibiotic and/or a prescribed topical medication. For optimal results, commit to using your skincare solution daily or as advised by your healthcare provider.
Needless to say, caring for your skin is an essential component of both your physical and mental well-being. If you are struggling with a particular skin concern or condition, be sure to address these issues with a doctor. Use their guidance to help you determine a proper skincare treatment and daily skincare routine.
Besides tending to your skincare needs, you must also remember to care for your mental health. Regardless of whether or not your skin condition is the root of your mental health problems, it’s important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Not only can it serve to support your personal wellness, but if your skin condition does relate to your mental well-being, it can also allow you to gain deeper insight into the intricate connection between the mind and skin.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a competent health care professional. You should not use this information in diagnosing or treating a health problem. No claim or opinion in this blog is intended to be, nor should be construed to be, medical advice. If you are now taking any drugs, prescribed or not, or have a medical condition, please consult a competent physician who is aware of herb/drug interactions before taking any herbal supplements. The information presented herein has not been evaluated by the FDA or the Department of Health and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, cure, mitigate or treat any disease or illness.