Embarking on a career in Dermal Therapy is an opportunity to learn more about the building blocks of health and wellness more generally. This is because the skin reflects our overall health. The state of the mind and how it can impact on the skin, is one example of the interdependence of systems in the body and how a disturbance in one area can affect another and vice versa. What is psychodermatology?
Psychodermatology refers to the interaction between the mind and the skin and seeks to promote a more holistic view of skin disorders, rather than viewing the skin problem in isolation.
Some skin conditions have been found to be linked to the mental health of the patient, and conversely it has been suggested that some skin conditions could precipitate mental health challenges.
An obvious example is anxiety and depression coming on as the result of the visual effects of acne. A less obvious example is inflammation in a given skin condition seeding inflammation in the brain, causing depression.
How often are psychodermatological problems seen?
In a European study published in late 2020, it was suggested that 25% of patients with skin conditions also suffer from depression, anxiety or preoccupation with their condition. Furthermore, suicidal ideation could possibly be more common among patients with skin disorders, than the general population.
With as many as 1 in 4 patients potentially needing psychological support in addition to your treatments, psychodermatological considerations are something you will very likely encounter every day in professional life as a dermal therapist. Some patients may only need to be directed to simple mindfulness tools, while others may need to speak to their GP to receive further assistance that supports your treatment.
The significance of stress
Stress impacts the body negatively in many ways and the skin is no exception. Unsurprisingly, for an reflective organ like the skin, stress can easily trigger skin conditions in sensitive people, or simply make an existing skin condition worse.
It has been estimated that as many as 50% of acne sufferers note an emotional event prior to the development of their condition, and in other skin conditions the incidence is even higher.
It is therefore well worth learning about how to discuss stress, and tools for managing it, with your patients to help them achieve the results they are looking for.
The importance of lifestyle to psychodermatology
These days we are all familiar with the lifestyle habits that promote good health: adequate refreshing sleep, regular exercise, a well-balanced healthy diet and good social connections.
The importance of good lifestyle choices and mental health status is well-documented. It can be tricky to get them all right all of the time, but sometimes a gentle reminder can go a long way towards motivating someone to adopt better habits.
By nudging patients towards a more holistic view of their skin condition, you might be able to positively impact someone’s life, beyond the health of their skin.
Grayclay offers a variety of well-respected medical aesthetics courses to help you build your career as a dermal therapist. What are you waiting for? Contact us to learn more.