Self Esteem and the Skin

Your skin is probably the first thing that you notice about yourself when you look in the mirror. Whether we like it or not, there is a deep connection between self esteem and the skin.

For many years, I have witnessed patients suffer both emotionally and physically from skin diseases. For example, patients who had psoriasis were asked to give up their health club memberships because of complaints. Teenage girls with acne suffering ridicule and rude remarks by the public as they tried to work waitress jobs.

Our skin is certainly not the deciding factor in happiness and success. There are many who excel in school and jobs with skin conditions.

But, many studies, such as The Impact of Pediatric Skin Disease on Self Esteem by Vivar and Kruse, underscore the fact that conditions such as acne have a negative impact on emotional well-being. Another article on acne in 12-25 year olds by Dharshana, showed that half of teenagers felt anger when they thought of their acne and 52% felt that people perceived them as being dirty secondary to their acne. In a recent population study published by the British Journal of Dermatology, acne was shown to be a risk factor for depression. In addition to acne, studies show that social anxiety and depression can result from self esteem issues linked to skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.

The link between your emotions and skin is becoming better understood through a new field of medicine called Psychodermatology. Psychodermatology is the blend of psychology and dermatology. This field investigates such issue as the role of stress on acne, hair loss, psoriasis and eczema.

The first step is getting the proper treatment for skin diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis that impact our physical and mental state. There are many new treatments as well as cost saving options to get acceptable control of these diseases. The second step is to tell your dermatologist if you feel anxiety or depression due to your skin disease.