Skin Disorders and Depression

psychological factors in skin disease and depressionFeeling overwhelmed by work stress, life stress, relationship woes and other parts of general existence can all feed into poor skin health and depression. Unfortunately, whenever we get stressed it is common to start relying on comfort foods that we know are not really healthy but feel necessary and good at the time. Our general nutrition suffers and then that, in itself, leads to poor motivation, lower energy, and skin problems. We might start drinking more coffee for a quick energy fix, eating more sugar and fat, drinking more alcohol and even smoking, causing myriad general health problems as well as skin issues connected to psychological factors.

What’s the best way to deal with this vicious cycle? Break away by recognising the connection. Setting aside a small amount of time to buy some healthy food, relax, and sleep well will have you back on track, with better skin and emotional health, faster than if you continue current unhealthy behaviours. Gulping down coffee, drinking to force relaxation, waking up at 3am each morning and dragging your weary body to work to put in another sub-par performance that leaves you craving more coffee, more sugary treats and another glass of wine after work – this will all continue in perpetuity unless you make that break and invest some time in yourself and your health.

Some basic tips for coping with depression and stress-related skin issues include:

  • Staying hydrated (cut out the caffeine and drink water!)
  • Ensuring a good supply of magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and other important minerals and vitamins for the skin
  • Cutting out alcohol as this increases stress responses and is dehydrating
  • Getting quality outdoor exercise time for a vitamin D and endorphin boost and for improved circulation
  • Relaxing!

Stress, overwork, fatigue and skin problems go hand in hand but the connection is far more complex than simply improving your diet, avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices and getting more sleep. Many skin conditions are affected by mental health issues beyond stress and some appear to be significantly associated with a range of psychological disorders. Depression and skin disorders play a game of chicken and egg it seems, with skin serotonin levels influencing psoriasis and psoriasis influencing systemic inflammation and depressive markers. It’s not as simple as saying that poor skin is responsible for patients’ depression and it may even be the other way around for many.

Acne and Depression – What’s the Link?

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