Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The mind & body connection to the skin.

The mind & body connection to the skin

There is a new term, "psychodermatology" have you heard of it?  Probably not.  It is the term used to address the impact of a person's emotional state as it relates to the skin.  It is NOT a psycho dermatologist.   Just making sure that is clear.
The research indicates that the mind and the skin are connected on many different levels.  Many nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wrap around the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically they can be expressed through skin (acne, rashes, etc.) just as stress can be expressed through symptoms like anxiety or hypertension.  For example, when a person is tense their cortisol levels will increase which affects the oil glands which can lead to an imbalance in the skins' pH leading to blemishes.

Dr. Bruce Katz, MD has a theory which he calls the "target organ theory." Certain people have different target organs that channel stress.  Some get ulcers, others migraines, while some people it is the skin that is their target organ, these people may get rashes or other skin disruptions when stressed or emotionally strained.
It is believed that during development in the womb the brain and the skin are derived from the same cells, so there is a connection.  The other immediate relationship is that when people experience stress in life, quite frequently, their skin becomes a reflection of that stress.
What to do about skin disruptions that are related to stress varies depending on the condition and the cause.   If the condition is short lived, such as a temporary short term job that you dislike there is not much to do because the flare up is episodic.   But if the stressors are more chronic, such as a difficult marriage or a person is unemployed and unable to find work the conditions are longer lived and need on going attention.
Talk to your skin care specialist.  Your visits are confidential.  Any and all information given can help tremendously when deciding which treatment options are best for you and your situation.Whatever information you can share will benefit you in the end.  Still not sure how I feel about the term "psychodermatology" still sounds like a crazy doctor to me.

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