Are Mental Health Issues Affecting Your Skin?

Mental health and skin health are closely interlinked. Not only can some skin problems trigger certain psychological conditions, but mental health issues can also cause new skin concerns to arise. From acne to eczema to premature wrinkles, let’s take a closer look at how your mental health could be affecting your skin.

Acne Breakouts

While just about everybody experiences feelings of stress, probably several times a day, those with certain mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, tend to succumb to stress even more. In small amounts, stress is healthy, but the chronic stress faced by those dealing with mental health conditions can cause some serious damage to your skin.

How? By triggering acne breakouts, for starters. Whenever you feel stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which has the effect of increasing the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands. As a result, your skin becomes oilier, your pores end up clogged, and pimples soon erupt, with numerous studies available to back this up.

While learning how to manage stress is key in controlling stress-related acne, it’s still worth having a good acne treatment plan to help calm your skin down when breakouts appear.

Premature Skin Aging

When it comes to premature skin aging, stress, and the cortisol that’s produced because of it, is once again a big culprit. In addition to stimulating your sebaceous glands, cortisol also weakens the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. These proteins are responsible for holding your skin up from within – they keep your skin looking smooth and taut.

Collagen and elastin naturally degrade with age. This is why the skin loses elasticity and develops smile lines, forehead wrinkles, and everything in between. However, stress speeds this process up, meaning that you’ll experience those creases far earlier in life than you otherwise would have.

While minimizing stress will help to prevent further damage, this isn’t going to repair the harm that’s already been done. For this, you’ll need to turn to anti-aging skincare. Look for ingredients that have been proven to increase collagen and elastin production, such as retinol, peptides, vitamin C, and green tea extract.

Put together a solid skincare routine – your skin needs consistency to be able to build up its protein fibers once again. Using a cleanser, toner, antioxidant-infused serum, and a hydrating moisturizer should have your skin back on track soon enough.

Eczema, Psoriasis, and Rosacea

Although eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are each different skin conditions, mental turmoil can cause flare-ups in them all. This is all down to how a distressed emotional state increases inflammation in the body.

Fortunately, there are several dermatological treatments out there designed to help. On their own, they won’t be able to counter the effects of the inflammation in your body, but combine them with relaxation techniques and they’ll be so much more effective.

Skin Picking

Skin picking is a repetitive behavior that is classified as a mental health illness. Related to obsessive compulsive disorder, this condition causes an individual to pick at their skin, which then results in lesions. Whether they may be picking at healthy skin or picking at pimples or scabs, the behavior can come and go sporadically, meaning that it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.

If you’ve ever felt an obsessive need to pick at your skin, it’s worth keeping an eye on this habit to make sure that it doesn’t develop into anything serious. The most common treatment for this condition is cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been proven to be very successful.

Seeking a Solution

If you’ve noticed that your skin concerns coincide with your mental health issues, you’re not alone. This is exactly what the emerging field of psychodermatology focuses on, with both psychologists and dermatologists coming together to learn more about how psychological issues can cause the onset of skin problems.

Re-balancing your mental health is imperative, but correctly treating the skin concerns that have arisen because of this is important too. After all, you may be able to banish your anxiety and depression for a while, but it’ll soon return if your skin is plagued with numerous problems that you need to deal with.

Since psychodermatologists aren’t yet easy to find, it would be worth seeking advice from both a psychologist and a dermatologist. Using knowledge from them both will allow you to put together a treatment plan that targets your issues from two different angles, enabling you to boost both your skin and your mental health at the same time.

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