We've heard of the effect of stress on our physiological health, but experts say that it affects not only our internal organs, but also our skin. We spoke to Dr Anagha Kumar, an international fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology to understand the connection between our mind and skin.
What exactly is the connection between the brain and the skin?
There is a strong physical connection between the brain and the skin. It can be traced to the first few days of our life, when the embryo is developing. The brain and the skin are essentially formed from the same group of cells—the ectoderm layer, thus establishing a fundamental physiological connection between the skin and the brain.
Does the skin reflect what the mind feels?
The fact that we blush when we are embarrassed is in itself a sign that the skin reflects what the mind feels. Similarly, the skin responds to mental stress also.
Scientifically speaking, what's the effect of stress on skin?
Scientific research points to the fact that chronic stress can interfere with the immune system, thus affecting the skin's ability to heal. Also, the skin's immune cells are influenced by the brain and nervous system through receptors and chemical messengers called neuropeptides. Scientists are studying these and other substances in the skin and how they respond to psychological stress. There's growing evidence that chronic stress can aggravate certain skin conditions