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Are you aware that there may be a relationship between the health of our mind and the health of our skin? Just as our skin reflects the health of our physical body, it may also reflect our mental or emotional well-being. According to Harvard Medical School, psychodermatology is a growing field of research interest. It explores, among other things, the impact of our inner well-being as well as environmental stress on the skin. Our nervous system and our skin “speak” to one another. An upset nervous system activates our stress response. This mind-skin connection triggers a skin stress response (via the mast cells ) which may create skin inflammation.

Emotional factors can exacerbate existing physiological skin conditions too. Conditions affected include, among others, acne, alopecia areata (hair loss), various types of eczema or dermatitis (skin inflammation), herpes (oral and genital), hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating), pruritis (itching), psoriasis (skin scaling and redness), rosacea (skin flushing and eruption), urticaria (hives), and warts. For some people with difficult skin conditions, psychological approaches — including mind-body calming or stress-relieving techniques — appear to be helpful. Holistic skin care includes the health of the whole person, including nutrition, lifestyle and emotional factors. More research is needed as our understanding of the mind-skin connection expands.

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