Mental Health and Your Skin

Today is World Mental Health day. Did you know that there is a relationship between psychiatric illnesses and skin disease?

In 2009, a study conducted by Parker Magin, PhD, David Sibbritt, PhD and Kylie Bailey, MPsych, discovered that depression, anxiety and stress is a factor in the causation of skin diseases.

In a sample size of 6630 women, they found that women with skin problems had the highest levels of depression symptoms.

Table 1: Correlation between skin problems and stress

untitled

One way to reduce and manage skin problems is to lower stress and gain better mental health.

Here are three methods to lower stress:

  1. Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins. This helps boost your mood and burn away anger, tension and frustration. Simple things like going to a yoga class, walking to the local shops and playing with your dog are beneficial.

  1. Connect with others

Reach out to family and friends. They may not be problem solvers but having someone to talk to and vent out frustration is surprisingly therapeutic.

  1. Get enough sleep

Get enough sleep and put away some time to unwind. This can be difficult with a busy schedule such as juggling work and study – but make the most of that procrastination time!

Advertisements

A Feast for your Skin

Super Ingredients for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is easily inflamed. Sensitive skin is reactive to many skin care products. Sensitive skin is rosacea, dermatitis, and acne.

We often here advice such as watch out for chemicals, avoid fragrances, reduce products and protect the skin.

However, what is good for sensitive skin?

There are five ingredients you should look out for when choosing your skin products. Otherwise, these natural remedies can go straight onto the skin as well.

  1. Aloe

Aloe is a natural calming ingredient that helps to tame inflammation. It keeps skin calm and promotes healing.

  1. Honey

Honey has healing properties and a natural antibacterial. It provides a hydrating, soothing solution to acne.

  1. Chamomile

Chamomile is considered hypoallergenic with an ability to neutralize skin irritants. It has a long history in skin care due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

  1. Cucumber

Cucumber is not just for your salad. Its popularity is due to its ability to calm swelling and soothe burning feelings. Like aloe, it can be used to treat sunburns.

  1. Calendula

Calendula comes from the marigold plant and has anti-inflammatory benefits. The herd stimulates collagen and minimizes scarring.

R U OK? | My skin’s not perfect and that’s ok

When we think about skin diseases, we often think about the outside. The flaky skin, the oozing pimples, the scaly plaques and the spotty redness. We can therefore forget about the stuff on the inside.

Psychological stresses, anxiety and depression can manifest itself in people with skin diseases if they are not careful.

Medical researchers Sulzberg and Zaidens wrote in 1948: “There is no single disease which causes more psychic trauma and more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority, and greater sums of psychic assessment than does acne vulgaris (acne).”

Acne has a clear correlation with depression and anxiety. It affects personality, self-image and self-esteem, and produces feelings of social isolation.

However, the degree to which a person has acne does not necessarily correspond with the psychological effect. Therefore, R U OK? Someone with mild acne can feel stronger psychological effects than someone with severe acne.

On the other hand, eczema can cause sleepless nights for children as well as impair school performance and social relationship. In adults, patients are concerned about their personal appearance and perceived attractiveness – affecting interpersonal relationships as well as work and career.

In people with psoriasis, the itching and unsightly appearance poses significant psychological stress. Studies show that there is a strong correlation to depression. Many report feelings of shame and embarrassment, avoiding swimming and sports. They also experience helplessness, anger and frustration.

As a result, the psychological effects of skin diseases are underappreciated. Like two sides of a coin, the physical and psychological aspects go hand in hand. The high visibility of the diseases increases stigmatization, and lowers social conversation.

 

Let’s start by building awareness.

Help us spread the word and join the conversation on twitter @depthsofmyskin.

 

Barankin, B. & DeKoven, J. 2002 ‘Psychosocial effect of common skin diseases’, Canadian Family Physician, vol. 48, no. 7, pp.712-716.

Sulzberger M. & Zaidens S. 1948 ‘Psychogenic factors in dermatologic disorders’, Med Clin North Am, vol. 32, pp. 669-672.

 

Sharing our Insecurities | Overview of the most common skin diseases | Part 2

Did you hear about the story of how Michael Jackson turned from black to white? No? Then you must not have heard of vitiligo.

Skin diseases are hard to ignore. But when they sit right on your face, it can be difficult to manage. Continuing on from part one, these are a few more skin conditions you should know about.

Acne

Come on let’s admit it. We’ve all been there – the greasy teenager popping, squeezing and spending $150 on a tea tree spot treatment that never really worked. I always had my little tube of acne cream that I hide very carefully in my bag, as I never wanted people to know I had a pimple problem.

Now, you may thinking, hey hang on… I though this page was about skin diseases. To which I will answer, yes acne is a skin disease!

It is a medical problem that causes blackheads, pimples and cysts. Acne is also triggered by some of the hormones that are associated with puberty and the menstrual cycle. It is not because of dirty skin or too much oil.

Acne is also not just for teenagers with many people continuing to suffer from it well into adulthood.

Rosacea

Rosacea or acne rosacea tends to make your face look extra pink. Symptoms include enlarged capillaries, a permanent flush and non-tender pustules. It is non-contagious and only affects the face.

The cause of rosacea unfortunately, is unknown but some environmental factors can trigger it. One of the reasons you may not have seen people with rosacea is because of foundation, lots and lots of foundation.

Vitiligo

Did you hear about the story of how Michael Jackson turned from black to white? No? Then you must not have heard of vitiligo. (And no it was not because of surgery, hormone treatments or some kind of magic). Chantelle Brown-Young from America’s Next Top Model also has it, although it looks slightly different on her.

This skin disease manifests itself when the immune system is ‘behaving badly’, which causes the destruction of pigment cells, resulting in white spots on the skin and hair. It is not contagious, it is not cancerous and it is not hereditary. Although it is commonly regarded as a ‘Black disease’, White, Asian, and Hispanic people can also have it – although it is not as distinctive.

 

Do you have your own skin story to tell? Message us on Facebook or leave a comment below.

Sharing our Insecurities | Overview of the most common skin diseases | Part 1

Did you know that in medieval times, people with eczema or psoriasis were sometimes persecuted as lepers?

Skin. It’s what covers your entire body. Just like how a set of clothes and accessories can be a personal statement, skin is too. Whether it is from tanning, whitening or make up, there are certain ways people prefer their skin to look.

However, what happens when you have specific skin issues? What if your skin is a little drier, flakier and more sensitive than other people? Talking skin problems can be seen as a little gross, embarrassing and even socially taboo at times.

These are some of the most common skin problems you should know about.

Eczema

This also called atopic dermatitis and it affects up to 20% of children and 3% of adults. It is an inherited, chronic inflammation of the skin.

Signs of eczema include patches of red, scaly and itchy skin, especially around the back of the knees, inside the elbows and around the wrists. In severe cases, skin may break, bleed and become infected.

The ASCIA advises that people with eczema should avoid environmental triggers such as chlorinated swimming pools, grass and overly heated rooms. It is extremely visible but eczema is non-contagious.

Contact Dermatitis 

You may sometimes confuse this one with allergies because that is exactly what causes it!

If the skin become in contact with an allergen or irritant such as wool, detergent, plant material, and some soaps and fragrances, it can become inflamed, burn and itch. This can then result in a weeping and oozing rash.

This is also non-contagious.

Psoriasis 

This one has been in the news recently because it is no secret Kim Kardashian has it.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease with periods of flare-ups and remissions. Psoriasis produces plaques of thickened and elevated skin due to a rapid proliferation of skin cells. It looks like red itchy patches covered in silvery scales.

Unfortunately psoriasis can be hereditary, the good news however, is that its non-contagious. It can be controlled with ultraviolet light therapy, medicine and prescription creams, but currently there is no cure.

 

You may be seeing a little trend right now. Yes, that is right! These skin diseases are all non-contagious.

Did you know that in medieval times, people with eczema or psoriasis were sometimes persecuted as lepers?

They thought they could catch it!

This is not a public health issue, but the result of fear, ignorance and prejudice.

 

Please help us share this information.