How Bad Skin Impacts Mental Health
Posted on October 10 2020
The condition of our skin has long been linked to our self-esteem and confidence levels, and these issues have formed the basis of practically every makeup and skincare advertisement since the dawn of time. These beauty brands trade off the idea of helping us improve our self-esteem and our feelings towards ourselves by promising to give us glowing skin and Hollywood ready makeup. Just like our figure and body type can impact our mental health, so to can the condition of our skin. This is particularly true for individuals who suffer from skin conditions like acne and eczema.
In the UK, 10 million people have suffered mental health issues as a result of bad skin, according to research carried out in 2019. A recent survey carried out by the British Skin Foundation concluded that 9 out of 10 dermatologists believed that not enough work was happening to tackle the impact on mental health caused by skin conditions such as rosacea and acne. The impact of bad skin is more than just skin deep and can lead to issues in daily life. Research carried out by the British Medical Journal found that more than 55% of people suffering from rosacea would trade a year or more of their life in exchange for a cure for the skin condition.
The connection that exists between bad skin and mental health has increased as a result of social media, and how easy it has now become to Photoshop and airbrush your photos from your phone. The practice of airbrushing out imperfections is no longer just reserved to magazine covers and is resulting in increased self-esteem and mental health issues, particularly amongst young woman.
The link between bad skin and mental health has led to the creation of psychodermatology, a new niche within dermatology, which looks at the psychological factors such as stress and their impact on skin conditions. It aims to change the individual’s belief around their appearance and help them improve their self-esteem and reduce psychological distress, such as depression, that can be caused by skin conditions. 13% of dermatology patients suffer from an anxiety disorder, which has been linked to causing rashes and other skin issues outside of their pre-existing skin condition.
As bad skin can directly impact our self-esteem and confidence, it can negatively affect our social life and our relationships with others. Skin conditions have been proven to cause mental health issues such as social anxiety disorder, body dysmorphia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ironically, these mental health conditions can exasperate existing skin issues and have an even more negative impact on the condition of your skin, creating a vicious cycle.
Bad skin can impact more than just your mental health. It can decrease your quality of life overall, as a result of anxiety, and can lead to an individual withdrawing from society. Anecdotal evidence has shown how bad skin can lead to individuals withdrawing from playing sports or even working in an office setting.
Ultimately, our obsession with perfection and trends on social media has created an even greater link between skin conditions and our mental health. Dermatologists and activists are now working to have the impact of skin conditions on mental health treated as seriously as other body image issues.
Here are some tips to help boost skin confidence:
- Switch off Social Media or unfollow ‘influencers’
Sophisticated editing gives unrealistic expectation, which can cause major affect to your mental health. Such as, you may end up believing like you are the only person in the world with your skin problem, when in fact about 60% of Brits suffer with the same skin problem. So it’s worth either switching off social media or just unfollowing ‘instagram models.’
- Talk to people, don’t isolate yourself
Discussing your skin issues with someone you trust will help share the burden of worry and leave you feeling much more confident in your own skin and improve your mental health. Trust us, you’re not the only one!
- Focus on you
Break the cycle of negativity; instead of telling yourself ‘you’re ugly’ or ‘not good enough,’ it’s time to give yourself a positive boost. Remember, your self worth isn’t defined by your appearance. Spend more time on working on yourself, such as, your goals, your personality etc confidence will gradually rebuilt.
- Skincare routine
Establish and maintain a cleansing routine that’s suitable for your skin type. We can’t stress this enough, a good cleansing routine is so important when it comes to managing skin issues.