There’s nothing like waking up to discover a new problem has taken residence on your skin. From acne breakouts and oily skin to sudden, itchy rashes and peeling appendages, a bad skin blemish ruins more than just your morning; it can ruin your entire day, and cause problems beyond the mirror as well. When you’re constantly worried about how your skin appears to those around you, both familiar and unfamiliar, you don’t exactly feel great about yourself. Additionally, if your skin problems and crises are frequent, chances are you’re struggling to hide them (and your true feelings) from everyone around you. Bad skin can lead to bad relationships – so what do you do when your skin is harming your connections with loved ones?
Skin Problems and Distress Go Hand in Hand
According to Rick Fried, a doctor who specializes in psychodermatology, a problem on the skin does more damage than just the physical. Throughout his years of medical work and research, Fried has found that individuals become distressed when blemishes flare up – whether you’re dealing with acne, a condition like psoriasis or eczema, or a chronic skin problem, as soon as signs and symptoms of a skin issue appears, you know everyone can see it. This, as Fried notes, is what leads you to stress out and develop a psychological reaction to your skin issues.
Our minds and our skin are closely connected. When our skin isn’t its best, neither is our mind; we start to stress out about the condition, giving ourselves increased stress. A 2014 survey of rosacea sufferers found that 90 percent of people with this skin condition also reported having low self esteem and self confidence. As many as 54 percent of the participants suffered from anxiety and feelings of helplessness. But the problems didn’t end there. As individuals stress out about their skin problems, the stress grows greater and seeps into their interactions and relationships with others.
The More You Breakout, The Worse You Worry… and Vice Versa
The psychological damage that blemishes, skin conditions, and breakouts cause can lead to stressful problems in relationships. The connection between our skin and skin problems is a self-sustaining cycle, according to Fried: most skin conditions are made worse by stress, and skin conditions tend to make us even more stressed.
However, suffering from skin problems doesn’t have to ruin your relationships with its excess stress and pressure. If you find yourself panicking over a blemish or breakout, work on dealing with the psychological root of the problem before you reach for the cover up. Acknowledging how your skin is making you feel will help you to be honest with your loved ones, and to let them know how your skin is impacting your emotions. With more communication, and greater consideration for your own feelings, your relationships don’t have to suffer while your skin does.