Skin anxiety: how I overcome and cope with these feelings

Skin anxiety is a term many people use for the worrying and panicked thoughts that come with having a skin condition. The way I have experienced it has come in a few different forms.

One example is when I’m in a flare up and my skin is at it’s most aggressive and sensitive. During these times I fixate on my skin and my mind races. Another example is when my skin is pretty much clear and has minimal eczema visible but I stress about what could flare it up and things like “I won’t do that just in case” come into my mind.

So whether my skin is flared or calm, I still get anxious about it’s condition.

I wanted to share how I’ve learnt to manage this:

  1. Distraction – taking your mind somewhere else is sometimes the best and only way to stop your mind racing.
  2. Brain dump into a journal – if I can’t stop fixating on something I will just write it in my journal and then I’m able to leave those thoughts behind.
  3. Take yourself away from the irritant – so for me dust is the number one trigger for skin anxiety. I see dust and wince so I will take myself away from the area and I keep my space extra clean to avoid unwanted stress.
  4. Introduce new things slowly – there is no point in overloading your system with new potential triggers so for example, I’m sensitive to fragrance so if I buy a new candle I don’t just burn it and fill the house with it’s scent, I will use it in small bursts to avoid a big allergy flare. This is the same for skincare, makeup and haircare, always patch test and introduce things one by one so you can monitor your reactions if you have any.
  5. If you know something irritates your skin, make it known – there is no point in putting yourself in a position where you could cause a flare. Now this is easier said than done but people understand and don’t want to cause you discomfort. For example, don’t make a fuss about not drinking and you’ll be surprised if someone does say anything they will forget about it once they’ve had a few, it’s no biggie!
  6. Don’t focus on the negative – I’ll use an example from my experience. For weeks and weeks I have been worrying about the dust during our home renovation and not allowing myself to get excited about it because of the fear of suffering through it all. Once I shifted my mindset to “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” and “I’ll do everything in my power to reduce contact with dust” I focussed on the excitement of it and haven’t thought about the dust since!

I hope this is helpful.

L x

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