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Study Shows Care of Skin, Hair Affects Emotional Health

Posted: February 20, 2009

Skin care professionals, such as estheticians and dermatologists, can help minimize the effects of stress and emotions on skin, hair and nails. This information from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) shows how proper care can aid emotional health.

In the emotional roller coaster of life, sometimes the down periods have long-lasting effects on more than just our mood. In fact, numerous studies link factors that impact our emotional well-being—such as stress, depression and anxiety—to an increase in skin, hair or nail problems. Now, dermatologists are advising patients to recognize these secondary symptoms and to seek treatment early before they cause additional stress.

Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology’s academy, dermatologist and clinical psychologist Richard G. Fried, MD, PhD, FAAD, of Yardley, PA, discussed the reciprocal relationship between feelings and appearance, and how failing to address these concerns can affect how we look, feel and function.

“When patients are going through a rough period in their lives, negative emotions can wreak havoc on their appearance,” said Dr. Fried. “So, as a result, patients might start to notice that their hair is thinning, their skin is inflamed or their nails are brittle, which can be physical manifestations of their mental state. These unwanted physical changes can have a profoundly negative impact on how they feel. The negative emotions can trigger a vicious cycle of worsening skin, hair and nails leading to worsening of their emotional state and can lead to further worsening of the skin problem. Dermatologists can play a key role in helping patients not only alleviate these physical symptoms, but also help enhance their quality of life during a difficult time.”

Psychodermatology interventions