Psychodermatology Explores The Link Between Mental Health & Skin Health

by Jessica L. Yarbrough

This article first appeared on Fashionista.com.

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If the ever-blurring line between self-care and skin-care is any indication, consumers are starting to suspect that skin health is more than skin deep. SephoraUlta and even Net-a-Porter boast "Wellness" sections now, stocked with supplements and sleep aids and smoothie mix-ins, all nestled into the overarching category of beauty — the thought being, the link between diet and skin is pretty much undeniable at this point. Psychodermatology aims to add the mind to that equation; and considering the recent popularity of products like crystal-carved facial tools and essential oil elixirs, it's a leap that beauty buffs are ready (and willing) to take.

"More people are understanding a mind-body connection, that what goes on in the psyche affects the body, including the skin," Dr. Wechsler tells Fashionista. "I think that it's just slower to catch on in the U.S. Here, doctors have not thought holistically like they do in other parts of the world."

It's true: A mind, body and spirit approach to skin care has been front and center in Eastern cultures for centuries (think: healing modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the ancient Indian approach to health), which mainstream Western doctors have largely dismissed.

But to be clear, psychodermatology is not alternative medicine. Dr. Wechsler balks at my use of the word "energy" ("I don't believe in that kind of thinking," she says) and doesn't hesitate to pull out the prescription pad when necessary. On the contrary: Psychodermatology is rooted in clear-cut biology and peer-reviewed studies. Yes, there are scientific studies — a lot of them — that confirm the mind-skin connection.


Jessica DeFinoComment