- Ben Fuchs
One of the most under-appreciated aspects of skincare involves its relationship to the mind, emotions and the skin. Technically called “psychodermatology” this aspect of cutaneous health is being recognized more and more as a fundamental, if under-appreciated cause of dermatological diseases. Psychodermatology recognizes that the skin, the brain and the body’s defense (immune) system that deals with survival threats, real or imagined, are in reality three parts of one system. That means that if you are dealing with acne, psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo or any other skin heath issue, you should consider looking at it as the result of a real or imagined survival threat. By far the most important sources of these threats are not actual. They are mental and emotional. In other words, in the majority of threatening situations, our survival is not actually at risk, we simply “believe” it is! However, while these threats may only exist as thoughts and feelings they can and do manifest themselves as real physical effects such as itching and rashes (eczema), inflammation (psoriasis), oiliness (acne) and changes in pigmentation (melasma).
If you go to a doctor, his management options according to the medical journal “American Family Physician” include “…psychotropic medication, stress management courses and referral to a psychiatrist.” No surprise there. As always, the medical model focuses on symptoms and not the causes.