Skin Disorders and the Mind

Today I would like to talk about the subject of PSYCHODERMATOLOGY, and show how our mind can influence the workings of our skin."Psychodermatology is the practice of treating skin disorders using psychological techniques.The mind-body link has been studied for centuries in different cultures by different disciplines. Only recently Western science has confirmed what we have already known intuitively - that the mind can have a significant influence over the body’s cells ability to re-generate. There is even support within Western science that each area of our body has its own store of memory.The skin is a major part of the body, so it is understandable then that skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne have a mind component. However, people with skin conditions usually do not consider the mind’s influence, and health practitioners also usually do not focus on this factor in their treatment.

Common psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, grief and loss, and depression can use a lot of energy and put pressure on the body’s nervous system and immune function. And this can become worse over time. An inflammation may occur in the skin, which unfortunately can increase stress and anxiety for the person, which in turn increases the inflammation, and the person’s dependence on medication.

If we turn our focus to how the mind could influence a skin condition, we may uncover and then treat the psychological causes of the condition. As a psychotherapist who sees people with skin conditions, I help people improve their coping skills when under stress, I help people reduce their anxieties by improving their self worth, self belief and by changing the way they interpret situations. This treatment usually also involves learning how to better manage emotions, and how to become more assertive. We may also consider relationship factors, work and living environments as part of this treatment.In summary, the mind is the internal generator of your life, and when its not working so well, then it affects the external parts of your life, including your skin, in a negative way. By learning to be more confident and relaxed, and by working through your experiences in healthy ways with a professional, your skin can benefit significantly.

I work together with skincare professionals who address the physical aspects of skin disorders (often prescribing topical and localised application of treatment products). The skin always benefits from a holistic treatment approach that not only focusses on skincare but also on mind, diet and lifestyle choices, and work and environmental influences.

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