What Your Skin Says About Your Mental Health

We're all very aware of how connected the mind is to the body (and vice versa). Meditating is likely just as important for your heart as physical exercise. The food we put into our body can determine our mood. And stress can rear its ugly head on the surface of our skin, by causing breakouts — which, in turn, could cause further stress.

But it's not just stress that causes skin problems; anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions do, too. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that a relatively new (and growing) field called psychodermatology aims to understand the relationship between our mental health and skin.

New research in this field suggests that many of the standard ways psychologists treat psychological conditions — like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and meditation — might help remedy dermatological conditions, as well.

"The skin is the most noticeable part of our body that could be impacted by psychological factors, yet very few psychologists are studying it," Kristina G. Gorbatenko-Roth, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, told the APA. "It's classic health psychology, just in a different area."

So if you have a skin condition — acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, whatever it may be — and nothing seems to be working, it might be time to consider a psychological treatment. Who knows? Maybe someday doctors will be prescribing a daily dose of meditation more readily than a topical cream.

(h/t New York Magazine)

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