Skin-mind connection is recently picked up by psychologist and dermatologist, to better understand the connection, also to discover treatment option.Particularly for skin disorders that are hard to treat via the conventional way, through medication.
The desire to treat these individuals have created a new field of treatment called psychodermatology, where connections between the skin and mental health are explored.
The medical director and founder of the Toronto Dermatology Centre, Dr. Benjamin Barankin pointed out that actually this field of psychodermatology has existed for more than 25 years. In fact, it is well established in Europe although there are only a few psychodermatologist in the US.
However it seems to be a growing industry. Psychodermatology was not created to substitute dermatological approaches and medicine but rather to be able to identify whether emotional issues are involved in any skin problems.
Just as how an outburst of acne can be caused by stress or hormonal imbalance, eczema and psoriasis flares could also be a result of any hidden emotional causes.
The way that psychodermatology treats patients is by helping patients manage their own emotional stressors. With that said, It is always good to begin treating and evaluating a skin disorder medically before looking into any psychological aspects.
When the medical approach does not seem to work or the skin condition doesn’t get better, it may be time to add on a psychodermatology approach to the treatment.
Sometimes, the medical approach would even work better when combined with psychological strategies.
There are a variety of treatment plans under psychodermatology, some of which can include therapy, medication or stress-reduction techniques. To help patients reduce stress, some of them may need to go through hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy or meditation.
The treatments may differ from patient to patient upon the psychodermatologist’s recommendations. In all of their treatments, psychodermatologist aim to learn how the patient responds to emotions and environmental stressors around them.
By doing so they can slowly help patients moderate these responses for a better well-being which can then be translated to healthier skin.
Managing Psychodermatology Disorders
One of the common types of psychodermatology disorder is called psychophysiological. This means that the skin problems are physiologically and biologically caused but can be worsen with stress or emotional factors.
This could include disorders such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, acne, urticaria (hives) or rosacea. When facing these skin conditions in the early stages there are some simple things you can do to find relief from the symptoms.
Try Easing Your Mind
Get your mind to focus on more stress free things such as meditation or yoga. Stress management techniques such as those could help calm and alter brain activity. Some studies even show how meditation can decrease skin inflammation.
Minimize Contacts or Exposure to Triggers
Try not to scratch affected areas and always remember to put on at least SPF 30 when going out under the sun.
Keep yourself clean and try avoiding smoke, if you are a smoker, definitely stop smoking. Use humidifiers and moisturizers frequently to help keep the moisture in your skin.
Take Note of the Food You Eat
Certain skin conditions can be triggered by a food intolerance. Take note of the food you consume and the reaction of your skin afterwards to determine whether you need any dietary change.
Drink lots of water and include lots of anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. This should help keep your skin healthy with regards to food.
Treat Your Skin Well
After bathing or washing your hands, you can opt to gently pat dry skin with a towel instead of rubbing or wiping it. Give your skin some tender loving care by avoiding products such as detergents, cosmetics or skin care that may trigger reactions to your skin.
Generally unscented products work best for sensitive skin. Read through labels and remember to patch test new products on your skin before applying them to larger areas.
There are also products in the market made especially for sensitive skin such as Herbbies Skincare, which consists of Herbbies Facial & Body Oil and Herbbies Treatment Focus Oil. Made from 100% natural herbs formulated in grapeseed oil, it works to soothe and heal sensitive skin such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. It seals in moisture and even creates a barrier to protect skin from environmental factors.
So don’t feel trapped by any skin disorders that you face. Just know that if conventional dermatology methods don’t work on your skin there are other solutions to manage it and even improve your mood. If you feel comfortable enough to do so, perhaps you can also try out psychodermatology – easing your mind to heal your skin.