The Connection Between Emotional Health and Skin Conditions

Many skin diseases can result in significant psychological distress for patients. If a physician recognizes that a patient’s sadness or anxiety exceeds normal limits, referral to a mental health provider or dermatologic support group may be appropriate.

Psychodermatologic disorders may be treated through nonpharmacologic methods such as hypnosis, music therapy, biofeedback training, yoga practice and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Emotions and Skin Diseases

Being emotionally healthy involves experiencing all emotions without them becoming detrimental to either physical or mental health. While this doesn’t guarantee no negative emotions will arise, it will enable you to better cope when they do surface.

Studies have demonstrated how some skin disorders can create emotional stress. One such study found that patients with rosacea experience higher levels of anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, another research paper demonstrated how emotional distress among vitiligo sufferers is tied to anger; anger has also been linked with pruritus in both psoriasis and vitiligo patients.

Disgust is another emotion often linked with skin conditions; however, research into it remains limited due to differing tools used for measuring it – for instance some studies use questionnaires while others employ structured interviews or psychometric instruments – making comparisons between studies more difficult than ever.


Nurses must be aware that patients living with chronic skin conditions are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety disorders, which often co-occur. Nurses should anticipate such mental health concerns in this patient group and feel confident screening for them and making appropriate referrals when appropriate.

Symptoms such as itching, redness, pain and low self-esteem can all lead to feelings of depression and low self-worth. People living with rosacea, psoriasis or other inflammatory conditions also report decreased confidence, social isolation and helplessness as part of their experience.

Studies on 211 patients suffering from the chronic inflammatory condition hidradenitis suppurativa revealed that their psychological well-being was closely tied to how they perceived their illness severity; healthcare providers’ assessments weren’t always spot on (Blanco et al 2019). Therefore, what may seem like mild medical symptoms may actually be an enormous source of distress and worry for a patient.


Anxiety is closely linked with skin diseases. According to DSM-51, anxiety is defined as excessive concern or worry lasting more than six months about different situations or events.

Many individuals living with chronic skin conditions experience anxiety or depression; the good news is there are treatments available for both conditions.

At a conference seven years ago, psychiatrist Rick Fried was discussing the mind-body connection when an audience member interrupted to ask whether his zipper was closed properly. This momentous comment highlights how important it is for scientists, including doctors, to remember we are more than physical beings; our emotional and spiritual health matters just as much as physical health – whether we feel it or not! Connectedness means everything; creating positive lives will only help combat stress and anxiety more efficiently.


Stress is one of the leading causes of breakouts, as well as aggravating preexisting conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Researchers have reported that people under stress heal more slowly when skin concerns are involved (Cheng & Silverberg 2019).

This may be attributable to the complex neuro-immuno-cutaneous-endocrine network that connects brain and skin. Under stress conditions, HPA axis becomes activated and secretes hormones which directly influence skin endocrine system and lead to release of stress mediators like cortisol or other cytokines from within its own endocrine system.

Stressful situations can also have an adverse impact on how your skin appears and feels, altering mood and making people more self-conscious about their appearance, which in turn reduces emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Studies have revealed that individuals suffering from chronic skin conditions such as atopic eczema were more likely to report lower emotional well-being levels and greater rates of depression symptoms (Smirnova et al 2020), possibly because these patients often feel socially excluded due to discomfort caused by their skin condition.

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