Anxiety Disorder surely makes you feel tired already. Maybe it pushes you to the edge of negativity too. But as it is a mental disorder, we see its negative impact on our mental health only. But the truth is, that any mental health disorder is potentially sufficient to hamper your physical health too. Not just health but may result in skin changes etc. Severe anxiety surely results in some physical issues such as muscle pain, breathing issues, etc. “Skin and anxiety are inextricably linked,” Dr Richard Torbeck, a board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC, who has extensive experience in oncologic and cosmetic dermatology, tells Bustle. “The reason has to do a lot with how we deal with stress and anxiety,” he says.
Though there are professionals who can treat both issues a patient needs to see a dermatologist for skincare management and a mental health professional to determine the roots of the issue.
Here are the issues you may face with your skin if you have anxiety.
When I say that anxiety affects your skin, you might have only imagined your face. But no, anxiety also affects your scalp. “A very common-linked stress and hair loss [example] is telogen effluvium,” Torbeck says. “It is very common after pregnancy, surgeries, significant life events, certain medications, and stressful events.” If you have anxiety issues and your hair fall is increasing or if you can see any thinning in the hair volume, visit your dermatologist to seek proper treatment for your issue.
Pock Marks, Cuts or scabs.
There are different ways for a person to express anxiety. Some shake their legs or close their fists tight to deal with anxiety. One of such common ways that people usually adopt as a habit while fighting anxiety is picking up their own skin.
“Anxious picking is a very common condition that can be debilitating at times,” Torbeck says. If you are noticing any such habits, just visit your dermatologist as he or she will help you out with some solutions so that you can avoid this skin issue with anxiety. Even the doctors say that it is important to reduce stress to avoid the will to pick up the skin. For this, talking to a therapist, taking cognitive behavioural therapy, Yoga, meditation, and medications can help.
Also check out: Anxiety Disorder in Teens – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Dry patches on your skin and scalp
Another skin issue as a result of anxiety is dry patches on your skin and scalp. “When you’re feeling especially anxious about something, that could lead to you developing seborrheic dermatitis — a rash on your scalp and face that causes dry flakes like dandruff to red, itchy scaly patches.” Dr Ohara Aivaz, a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist practising in Beverly Hills tells Bustle. “Because having a skin condition can lead to psychological distress and low self-esteem, the first step is to treat the skin condition itself,” she says.
Your doctor can recommend you any cream or medications to get relief. “But treating the symptoms isn’t enough. Stress modification is also critical,” Aivaz says. Hence, if you can do something to reduce stress, then there is no other better way out.
Also check out: Ways to Treat your Anxiety Attack by Yourself
Mild Anxiety can cause Vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its colour in patches. Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells die or stop functioning. If you have severe anxiety, then these patches can be evident easily, Dr. Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist specializing in a wide variety of skin diseases including acne, tells Bustle.
Vitiligo is a bit away from treatment, hence it is very essential to treat anxiety, which is the root cause of this issue. “The first step in the treatment of such conditions is to address possible causes of anxiety and try to treat them,” he says. “To speed the process up, we usually start treating the skin as well, but sometimes the damage can be close to permanent.”
Bumps around your nose and mouth.
Perioral dermatitis is a rash that can be caused by anxiety. It means when you have scaly, pink bumps forming around your mouth or nose, Dr Ellen O. Turner, M.D., a dermatologist experienced in medical, cosmetic, surgical, laser, and superficial radiation procedures, tells Bustle. Your skin specialist may advise you to take some medications or cream as a way to treat your bumps, but like every skin issue due to anxiety, relieving stress is important.
“In patients where traditional dermatology treatments are not effectively working, and patients are expressing stress or anxiety, I discuss four-point salivary cortisol testing, followed by treatment if there is, in fact, abnormality.”
Also check out: Anxiety in Women – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Severe anxiety episodes can make your skin more itchy than usual. Pruritus is a condition commonly known as excessive itching which is a possible result of severe anxiety, Dr Hal Weitzbuch, M.D., M.S., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist specializing in diagnosing and treating diseases, tumours, infections, and age-related changes of the skin, hair, and nails, tells Bustle. “There are several reasons why anxiety might lead to itching and then scratching,” he says. “One reason is that anxiety is a neural condition and the nerves might be hyper-sensitive to any itch signal.”
Washing your body and applying moisturizer more often may help in reducing itching. If not, make sure you take an appointment with your dermatologist.
Weitzbuch says that if you have chronic rashes like psoriasis, you can have a worse turn in this situation while having anxiety. Psoriasis is a skin issue that includes a lot of immune cells in the skin and anxiety can have a worse impact on the cells of your immune system due to excessive stress hormones. Treatment can be based on individual to individual as Rashes also affect differently on different bodies.
“Acne is the best example where stress from anxiety can release cortisol,” Dr Sandy Skotnicki, a consultant dermatologist who’s an expert in skin irritants and author of Beyond Soap, tells Bustle. “Cortisol will increase the skin’s oil production through the testosterone pathway and can increase pimples,” she says. Visiting your dermatologist if you feel acne during anxiety is very important.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you must not take stress due to these skin issues. Already these skin issues are a result of mental health disorders, anxiety. Anxiety is what you should focus on, you will feel relieved in all these skin issues once you reduce stress and try to stay calm as much as possible.