Could a skin shrink cure your spots
22:02 GMT, 28 May 2012
Over the past ten years I have tried everything – and I mean everything – to beat my adult acne.
I have spent more money than I’d like to admit on seeing doctors, dermatologists, herbalists, homeopaths and nutritionists.
I have tried every skincare regime, medication and diet going. Some have helped but none has cured me.
Psychodermatology believes our emotions affect our skin more than we realise and that acne sufferers could benefit from seeing a psychotherapist
Now I’ve resorted to therapy. Yes, I’m seeing a ‘skin shrink’. We all know that stress and acne are linked – but an emerging field of study called psychodermatology believes our emotions affect our skin more than we realise and that people with chronic adult acne could benefit as much from seeing a psychotherapist as seeing a dermatologist.
Enter Dr Ted Grossbart, a clinical psychologist based in Boston in the U.S., who treats patients with skin problems around the world via Skype therapy sessions.
‘It may be that your acne is 50 per cent due to hereditary factors, 30 per cent due to lifestyle and only 20 per cent is due to psychological factors. But if you tackle the emotional stuff, you might just push balance back in favour of health.’
Clinical psychologist Dr Ted Grossbart
Dr Grossbart asks me to create a timeline of my life comparing it with fluctuations in my skin. It shows that my skin exploded in my early 20s when I was in the depths of grief.
Both of my parents had been diagnosed with cancer in the same year and one had not survived it. I finished university, broke up with my childhood sweetheart and started a new, never-quite-right relationship.
It improved for a while when I broke off that relationship but the most recent flare-up happened when I met my current boyfriend. Why am I breaking out when I’m happy
Dr Grossbart sees a pattern: ‘It’s possible that your skin is acting as a protector, trying to tell you things that you won’t admit to yourself. In the past your skin was at its worse when you were in a relationship you knew wasn’t right.
‘Then you meet someone you really like but are bound to be hesitant about — your skin listens to the doubts and reverts to its previous defence mechanism.’
He suggests two meditation exercises – the first where I imagine myself in a serene, healing state and then another where I imagine my body fighting the acne on a cellular level. He recommends I do this for 15 minutes a day . . . for ever.
A month after seeing Dr Grossbart things are looking clearer, in every sense. My skin is not perfect but I can see a real improvement. My break-outs are fewer and when I do get them I feel less stressed by it, which hopefully means that never-ending stress-spot cycle may be breaking.
Find out more at grossbart.com