As the skin is the body’s largest organ, it is incredibly important to our overall feeling of wellbeing. As with any other organ, it can be deeply affected by a number of conditions, many of which can be emotionally and physically debilitating. But what impact do skin conditions have on our mental health? It’s important to delve further into a fundamentally widespread issue.
More than just appearance
Since skin conditions are so visible to other people, it comes as no surprise that many who suffer from skin conditions feel substantial psychological distress and a deterioration in mental health as a result. This is also in addition to the potential physical pain that skin conditions such as acne or eczema can cause.
Social media has only made the problem worse; many people present squeaky-clean images of themselves that have been altered with some kind of filter or effect. There is also a problem with the social isolation that skin conditions can cause. Eczema sufferers, for example, can become withdrawn, wear clothes that others are not, or avoid sleepovers because of their condition, leading to significant emotional distress, particularly if they are at school.
Escaping the cycle
The link between mental health and skin is so profound that an entire field of scientific interest, known as psychodermatology, exists in an attempt to further understand it. However, according to one survey, as many as 9 in 10 dermatologists don’t think enough importance is being placed on the psychological impact of skin conditions.
It works in reverse too; not only do skin conditions affect mental health, but mental health affects skin as well. Stress, for example, possibly even caused by a particular skin condition, can make some conditions worse. There is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence which suggests that inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and acne are made worse by stress. For many, a recurring skin condition such as eczema can be a physical symptom of a mental health flair up, such as with anxiety, which poor skin can worsen.
When it comes to mental distress caused by a particular skin condition, should you be looking for support from a therapist or dermatologist? Your dermatologist and GP are both integral to helping you find the support you need, whether that is treatment for a skin condition that you have or using therapy to cope with the emotional impact on your psychological wellbeing. You can even self-refer to some talking therapies in your nearby area if you believe that you have a mental health issue, or find private sessions on Patient Access.
Whatever you choose, do not suffer in silence. If your skin condition is making you feel emotionally low, stopping you from doing the things you would normally do, or holding you back from the things that you want out of life, it is absolutely vital that you let your dermatologist or doctor know. They can work things through alongside you, provide you with the necessary support that you need, or enlist the aid of a clinical psychologist with an area of interest in skin disease.
Sam Baggott is a fully qualified beauty therapist and Dermalogica skincare professional with many years of experience, who has been working with both men and women for many years in her salon in Gloucester. Offering a range of services and treatments, you’re sure to find something for you here at Therapy by Sam Baggott. If you would like a consultation and suggested treatments, then take a look at our website where you will find further information on all things related to this at https://therapybysambaggott.co.uk or give us a call on 01452 539 751.