Shifting Focus

Emblem for Skin Support Module - Shifting Focus Away from the Skin to Maintain Skin Health

Executive Summary

Focusing on your skin issues can increase blood flow to the affected area and may be fueling the inflammation cycle. Shifting your focus away from the issue can reduce unncessary stress, reduce local inflamattion and result in more balanced blood flow to the area.


Many individuals report that their skin issues are aggravated by stress, anxiety and modest stages of depression. This phenomenon is cited liberally throughout medical literature covering not only seborrheic dermatitis, but many other closely related skin conditions (rosacea, psoriasis, and acne) [1].

What’s not discussed as often, is the effect that over-focusing on your skin may have. Perhaps simply giving to much attention to your skin symptoms, may itself be fueling these various inflammatory skin issues.

Relevant Evidence

Some of the more interesting findings in this area include:

  • Participants who had to perform a task in front of observers examining only one side of their face, showed increased skin blood flow and temperature specifically on the side being observed [2]
  • Socially anxious individuals experience a significantly higher level of facial blushing (produced by increased blood flow and skin temperature) [3, 4]
  • Social anxiety and increased self-awareness is highly common amongst individuals affected by skin issues such as seborrheic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis [5, 6, 7]

In summary, it really does seem that simply focusing on affected areas of skin may actually be the cause of worsening symptoms. And the potential mechanism behind these symptoms may be connected to increased blood flow and the accompanying increase in relative skin temperature.

Why It’s Important for Inflammatory Skin Disease

Characteristics most important for individuals affected by inflammatory skin disorders:

  • Stabilized blood flow to affected skin areas
  • Reduced anxiety and stress levels
  • More even skin temperature

Expected improvements:

  • Improved hormonal stability
  • Improved sebum composition
  • Reduced local microbial activity

Ideas for Easier Integration:

  • Brainstorming your triggers may be helpful, as it could raise your awareness to the moments you are most likely to revert back to your condition behavior
  • When you notice your focus shifting to the skin, breathing exercises may be helpful in helping you shift your focus away
  • Ongoing habit modification strategies may be required to change these behaviors for the long term

Additional Notes

  • Individuals affected by various skin issues often give far more attention to the issue then would a impartial observer

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