Psychological Factors in Skin Disease

skin conditions and psychological stressIt may be fairly obvious that the health of our skin can affect our emotional and psychological well-being; the skin is, after all, our interface with the world. However, underlying emotional health can also affect the skin, with connections made between stress and psoriasis, and depression and acne. It’s even possible to find a link between coldsores and relationship break-ups, explaining why your skin seems to choose the worst possible time to break-out in blemishes. What can we do for skin health then, if it is at the mercy of our emotions? Read on to find out.

The Gut-Brain-Skin Connection

More than seventy years ago, dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury proposed a link between gastrointestinal health, depression, stress and anxiety and the health of the skin. Their theory was that psychological health and skin health were linked through altered intestinal biosis, increased gut permeability (a leaky gut) and resulting rise in systemic inflammation.

Stress Relief for Skin Health

Research in recent years confirms that Stokes and Pillsbury were right on the money when it came to the skin and stress connection. Indeed, there are now groups specialising in psychodermatology and neurodermatology, using stress relief as a treatment for acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin conditions. In addition, the link between autoimmune disorders (including skin disorders like vitiligo), the gut and mental health is also being scrutinised, with the potential to manage skin conditions naturally using stress relief protocols that allow patients to reduce reliance on drugs and other interventions with potential side-effects.

On the following pages we’ll be looking into the reasons for a whole host of common skin complaints, including:

  • Why it is that coldsores always appear just before a date.
  • Why psoriasis flares up before a job interview
  • How contact dermatitis and stress are connected
  • The cold, hard truth behind ‘Why the sad face?’
  • The connection between skin health, nutrition, stress and depression.

Let’s start examining this connection, however, by taking a look at a common skin disorder we can all relate to and one that is often associated with depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms: Exams, Dates, Interviews, Stress and Acne – Why Now!?

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