We’ve all been there. Breakouts when we miss a deadline, a stray pimple whenever something’s bothering or upsetting us, or how our skin flares up when we’re mad or emotional. It’s a well-known fact that stress loves to mess with our skin. We’ve known it for decades. But nowadays, dermatological and psychological science is finally catching up to uncover the intricate link between our skin and mental health, and it’s not as depressing as you might think.
have long established that mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and
even stress, contribute to skin conditions such as acne, vitiligo, psoriasis,
and alopecia among others. Stress has been known to increase the production of
sebum – an oily discharge that aggravates acne and clogs up pores – in our
body. Stress can also exacerbate existing skin conditions like psoriasis, or
trigger relapses of previously cured and dormant ones. Unsurprisingly, director
of dermatologic research at Montefiore Medical Center Dr. Adam Friedman says
that the opposite is also true: skin diseases can also affect our mental
health negatively. He says that “ostracism and feelings of insecurity fuel the
pathophysiology of these conditions” and “becomes a vicious cycle between the
skin and the nervous system”.
The good news is that link goes both ways. Having clear and healthy skin has many positive psychological benefits.
A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that people with clearer skin have a reduced risk of being depressed than those who don’t. Psychiatrists and dermatologists alike agree on the impact of something as benign as acne on a person’s mental health. In many cases it can lead to anxiety and depression. Moreover, biological responses induced by some skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema have been linked with triggering depression and anxiety.
That’s not all, the same study concludes that people with clearer skin are far more likely to be outgoing, sociable, go out on dates, and try to look for better jobs – factors that can have a positive feedback loop on your mental health.
Not having that perfect skin right now doesn’t mean you can’t reap these mental health benefits. On the contrary, the process of taking care of your skin can also be beneficial to your mental wellbeing. Double board-certified psychiatrist and dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler told Marie Claire that skincare routines can lower heart rate and help someone who’s depressed or anxious. She says that skincare regimens essentially give you the impression of control to a portion of your life. More than a coping mechanism, this control can extend to your perspective and goal setting outlook.
The empowering aspect of skincare habits on mental health can also positively benefit work performance and productivity. The World Health Organization reports that depression costs the global economy around $1 trillion a year. This finding is one example of why more effort is being made to study employee wellbeing. Maryville University’s look at how psychology can affect different areas of a person’s life examined how psychologists had found correlations between employee behavior and mental health. With mental health issues becoming a dominant issue in the workforce, simple steps like having a good skincare routine are an effective and cost saving way to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
With the previously mentioned added mental health benefits to self-care, science has proven that beauty truly isn’t skin deep. More importantly to note, is that clear skin is not just for the young. As we have covered here on Viora’s Blog before, Dr. Marina Vashkevich says that anyone can look and feel younger given the right treatment. Taking care of your skin is a big step in taking care of your mental wellbeing, which is why it pays to invest in your skin’s health.
Article specially written for blog.vioramed.com
Written by: J. Bambert
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