The link between mind and skin has been known for centuries, dating back as far as Hippocrates, say, a consultant dermatologist who runs a psychodermatology service clinic and practises in the NHS. "Psychodermatology considers both the mind and the skin together when seeing a person with a skin problem." And these patients are often facing a breadth of skin problems and body dysmorphia disorder, coupled with emotional distress.
Neuroscientist that specialises in the mind skin link, explains that our negative thoughts can affect the skin far more than we may realise. A term in psychology called rumination, which is when someone has a recurring stream of negative thoughts, can wreak havoc on the skin. "This can hinder our healing, since it can lead to depressive thoughts or feelings of defeat about a recurring condition. "So, we can get stuck in a negative thought pattern, which is a form of stress and anxiety, and can maintain the body in an inflammatory state - this can even trigger or worsen inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and acne. As a result, this stress can make the issue worse, and so the viscous cycle begins. "Feelings of emotional distress lead to the release of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to affect the immune system (making the skin less able to defend itself), drive allergic responses, delay healing and disrupt the skin's natural barrier. addressing the interaction between the brain, skin and mind is key to achieving healthy skin.
With the rising acknowledgement of psychodermatology and popularity of mindfulness, the immune emphasis on the mind-skin link is now trickling in to salon and spa treatments. One practitioner addresses the connection to their client's appearance and the emotions that can be held in the face. "If there is a preponderance of negative emotions, the muscles will remain contracted, which will restrict the flow of oxygen and nutrients to each cell and will be manifested by a lack of radiance and tone".