So, what is psychodermatology?
An emerging hybrid consisting of psychological treatment and dermatology, psychodermatology is all about connecting the dots between skin, stress and emotional well-being. Alongside providing support to those with existing skin conditions, psychodermatlogy is a pioneering treatment that understands that simply treating the physical symptoms may not be treating the source of the problem, and that psychological interventions and self care may be the key factor in providing long term successful treatment to anyone who suffers with chronic skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and many more.
The links between the external and the internal, the mind and the skin, are slowly becoming more apparent and the idea that stress can directly interfere with the skin is a reality for many. We have always been aware that living with skin conditions can cause emotional distress, but it is only recently that the conversation surrounding stress, skin and mental health has gone more mainstream; with one in three individuals who see an NHS dermatologist also presenting with a mental or emotional health concern.
Treatment is usually a course of CBT (talking therapy), habit reversal therapy or mindfulness and sometimes coupled with medications such as SSRIs. There’s a spectrum to conditions that are more likely to be caused by emotional distress, with skin picking and hair pulling examples of conditions usually intensified or originating from long-term stress, anxiety or trauma. Learning more about triggers and why the emotional may be manifesting in the form of a skin condition is also explored. Living with a skin condition can cause worries related to your self-esteem or relationships, which can then lead to and exacerbate depression and anxiety. This combination can accelerate cortisol levels - which then interfere with your skin and make your condition even more intense. CBT can help to diffuse and break down the many layers that contribute to a long term skin condition, which in turn can lessen symptoms and lead to a long term solution.
Psychodermatology is all about breaking the cycle and looking past the symptoms to assess why and how they may be manifesting, as well as treating any emotional worries that may arise as a result of living with a skin disorder.
Psychotherapeutic skincare and wellness is about incorporating the mind, body & skin into your routine, taking a holistic approach to health, and understanding how emotional responses can cause changes in the skin. Using CBD, practicing mindfulness/meditation and exercise are all useful assets when needing to de-stress, which in turn can make us feel better both mentally and physically, resulting in healthy, happy skin.