Searching for a link between skin problems and mental health

2-6-2019 woman scratching her neck
Image credit: Tim Newman

While some studies have shown a link between isotretinoin use and suicidal thoughts and depression, it’s not clear whether those mental health effects are caused by the drug itself or the severe acne it’s prescribed to treat.

These questions have coalesced into a burgeoning field known as psychodermatology, which investigates how the mind affects the skin, and how the skin affects the mind.

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Neelam Vashi is a dermatologist at Boston University who has studied the impact of certain skin conditions on patients’ quality of life. She said that skin conditions have a particular “threshold” that can be lowered by stress or environmental factors. When that threshold lowers—say, you’ve just lost your job, or you’ve come down with the flu—that skin condition can flare up or worsen.

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Mohammad Jafferany, one of the field’s modern pioneers, explained that some evidence shows this happens because, when a person is stressed, certain hormones, including cortisolnorepinephrine, and epinephrine, are released in the body.

Regardless of how, exactly, mental health affects skin conditions, what is clear is that a comprehensive approach to treating a patient’s overall health can only be beneficial.

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Read full, original post: Does Your Skin Affect Your Mental Health—and Vice Versa? Psychodermatology Aims to Find the Connection

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