Psychodermatology: The Skin-Mind Connection
A new Tik-Tok Trend that is setting both the science and skin-care world alight
If you’re struggling with skin concerns, it’s time to think outside the box and explore treatments that also take a mental health perspective. After all, skin and brain cells come from the same embryonically-developed cells. So, scientifically speaking, this approach totally makes sense. Why do we blush when we’re embarrassed, or get goosebumps when we’re scared? It’s because stressful situations like these trigger a reaction in our skin. And if we’re not careful, those reactions can manifest into more severe, long-term conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
What is Psychodermatology?
Psychodermatology is more than just the study of the relationship between the mind and skin. It is a field that encompasses all the conditions involving the skin and brain. Dermatologists with this specialty not only look at how skin disorders can affect mental health, but also how mental health can affect our skin.
Do you see your true reflection when you look in the mirror, or do you only focus on your flaws?
Whatever your answer is to this question, the reality is that no amount of skincare products or aesthetic procedures will change it. A breakout may make you feel bad about yourself, but the truth is that your self-perception comes from a deeper place. Your skin can be an important indicator of your overall health. It can often reflect what’s going on below the surface, so it’s important to pay attention to any changes. By paying attention to your skin and treating it with care, you can tap into the mind-body connection that can help your skin feel better overall.
For years, GPs have referred patients with skin conditions to dermatologists. Now, clinicians are starting to ask: If we treat the mind, will the skin condition also improve? Increasingly, we’re seeing that the answer is yes.
Dermatologists have traditionally treated skin conditions as if they were purely physical. However, more and more research is showing that there is a strong connection between the mind and the skin. By treating the mind, we can often improve skin conditions.
Psychodermatologic conditions are tough because they affect how we look and how we feel. Treatment options vary from person to person, but what is clear is that treatment should include an empathetic, collaborative, multidisciplinary team approach with a treatment plan focused on improving overall functioning.
We know that stress can take a toll on our skin, but what can we do about it? Patients and clinicians should consider behavioural management approaches, as well as prescription medication when necessary, to successfully manage stress or emotionally exacerbated skin conditions.
Behaviour management techniques could include:
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- relaxation training
- narrative therapy
- guided imagery/meditation
- assertive communication
- supportive group and individual psychotherapy
Depending on the patient’s history and other factors, pharmacological treatment could include:
- anti-anxiety medications
- food supplements
- topical skin formulations
Daily holistic practices that help balance mind and skin include:
- practice mindful skincare
- eliminate toxins
- reduce stress
- get high-quality sleep
- eat foods to support the skin and gut
- balance sun exposure and sun protection
- drink plenty of water
Psychodermatology is finally being recognized for the benefits it can offer. With experts on board and robust scientific data to support its effectiveness, it’s time to start thinking more positively about your skin. After all, your complexion will thank you for it.
Skin disorders can be triggered by stress, poor emotional or mental health. To effectively treat a skin disorder, it is important to address the underlying causes. We are pleased to see that more and more resources are becoming available to address this unmet need and proud to be supporting this new movement.