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HomeHealth NewsAnxiety, skin conditions and their complex relationship

Anxiety, skin conditions and their complex relationship

This is a short introduction to the subject:

Millions of people suffer from anxiety, a common and debilitating mental disorder. Anxiety can be defined as excessive worry or fear. It can also lead to physical and emotional symptoms that can have a major impact on someone’s life. While anxiety is primarily a mental condition, it can also have a significant impact on physical health. It can also have an impact on skin conditions. It is well known that stress and mental health can aggravate and trigger skin conditions. This article will explore the complex relationship between skin conditions, anxiety and psychological factors.

The Physiological Link

Stress hormones and skin inflammation

Anxiety can cause skin problems by causing stress. Stress and anxiety can cause the body to release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones trigger a cascade of physiological responses, including the release of inflammation markers. This inflammation can lead to a variety of skin conditions, including redness, swelling, and itching. Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema are linked to chronic stress and high cortisol levels.

Weaken Immune System

Anxiety may also weaken the immune system, making it harder to maintain good skin health or fight infections. A compromised immune system can lead to wounds healing slower and an increased risk of bacterial skin infections. Stress can cause herpes and shingles. Stress can activate dormant viruses.

Psychological Factors

Skin Picking Dermatillomania

Anxiety manifests as tension, restlessness, and nervous habits. This can cause repetitive behaviours like skin-picking or dermatillomania. These behaviours can cause skin damage, including infections, scarring and open sores. Dermatillomania, a mental disorder, is characterised as compulsive skin picking. It is often associated with anxiety disorders. These behaviours can worsen existing skin conditions or create new ones.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is closely related to anxiety. The disorder is marked by an obsession with perceived flaws or defects in appearance. BDD patients are obsessed with their imperfections in the skin, even if these are minor or nonexistent. This obsession can cause people to overuse skincare products and cosmetic procedures. These products can worsen skin problems and cause a vicious cycle of anxiety and skin issues.

Emotional Impact

Self-Esteem & Body Image

Anxiety affects a person’s self-esteem and body image. Physical symptoms such as blushing or sweating may exacerbate feelings. This can lead to increased anxiety and stress which can worsen skin conditions.

Isolation Social

Anxiety can cause social isolation due to its emotional and psychological effects. People with severe anxiety may avoid social situations, or isolate themselves. This can lead to depression and loneliness. Social isolation can exacerbate anxiety and skin conditions, as social relationships are vital for good health.

Quality of Life

The interaction between anxiety disorders, skin conditions and other health issues can affect a person’s quality of life. Skin conditions can cause pain, discomfort or disfigurement. The anxiety as well as the skin condition may have an adverse impact on your quality of life. People can become obsessed by skin issues, which affects their ability to enjoy life.

Common skin conditions that are aggravated by anxiety


Acne is a skin condition that can be serious. Stress and anxiety are often the cause of acne. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Oil can cause pimples, lesions and block pores. Stress can also increase the inflammation of the skin. Acne lesions become more red and inflamed.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterised by dry and itchy skin. Eczema can be triggered or worsened by stress and anxiety. Skin inflammation and itching can be caused by stress.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes thick, scaly skin patches. Stress and anxiety worsen psoriasis symptoms by activating the immune system. This causes increased inflammation and leads to new lesions.


Rosacea is a skin condition that causes visible blood vessels and facial flushing. Rosacea can flare up due to stress and anxiety, but the exact cause of this is unknown. Emotional distress may cause blood vessels dilation and skin sensitivity. It will worsen rosacea symptoms.

Hives (Urticaria)

Hives and urticaria can be caused by histamine. The hives are raised, itchy welts on the skin. Hives can be caused by anxiety, which triggers the release of histamine. Hives caused by stress or anxiety usually go away after the stress or anxiety has passed.

Skin conditions and anxiety – Coping strategies

Stress Management

Anxiety-related skin conditions can be managed by managing stress. Meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness and yoga can help reduce stress, and therefore improve your overall skin health.

Psychological Support

It is important to seek psychological help for skin conditions caused by anxiety. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) or cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), for example, can help you learn how to manage anxiety and reduce harmful behaviours like excessive skin care.

Skincare Routine

You should establish a skincare regimen that helps you to manage skin conditions that can be aggravated by stressful situations. Maintaining skin health is possible by moisturising and using gentle products to cleanse. Avoid products that are harsh. A dermatologist can provide personalised advice and treatment options for your skin condition.


Skin problems and anxiety can both be treated with certain medications. Anxiety can be treated with antidepressants and beta-blockers. Skin conditions are treated either with oral or topical medication depending on the severity.

Lifestyle Modifications

Healthy lifestyles will have a positive impact on both anxiety and skin. Regular exercise, a good diet, adequate sleep, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can help manage anxiety and reduce skin issues.

The conclusion to the article is as follows:

There is growing interest in dermatology, psychology and healthcare regarding the complex relationship between anxiety and skin conditions. It is important to understand the psychological, physiologic, and emotional factors that link anxiety with skin conditions. This will help in managing and treating these conditions. Stress and anxiety can be addressed by using appropriate strategies to improve mental health. If necessary, they should seek professional assistance. It is important to treat the underlying anxiety as well as the skin condition. They are often connected in a complex cycle of cause and effect.