Skin care is essential, since the first impression we make on others is produced by our appearance. However, all extremes can be harmful, neglect or take too much care of the skin, it can also have its disadvantages.
On this occasion, we will talk to you about dermatopathophobia , so that you know better about what this psychological disorder is about, as well as its causes and symptoms. Phobias, although sometimes caused by some kind of unpleasant event, is not necessarily so in all cases. Many times this disproportionate fear does not have a logical explanation . There are many types of phobias of all kinds, most of them unknown. To understand dermatopathophobia it is important to make a distinction with trypophobia , since they are sometimes confused.
What is dermatopathophobia?
Basically it can be said that dermatopathophobia is the fear of suffering diseases or skin damage . This phobia can also become known as ‘dermatophobia’, being quite harmful at its most critical levels.
This fear, being a phobia, is usually irrational and disproportionate in most cases, so part of reality can be distorted by it. In its most severe states, this phobia can affect and limit the lives of those who suffer from it.
The person who suffers from this type of phobia may suffer a strong anxiety because there is simply a redness on their skin, which has even been produced by the contrast of a change in temperature. Any reason why the skin is affected can cause strong discomfort and anguish, whether due to an allergy, sting, burn, irritation, etc. Due to the fear that their skin could be damaged, they have a special aversion to needles , so these types of people would never expose themselves to the fact of getting a tattoo or piercing.
As in any other type of phobia there are different degrees , since not all people suffer from it and live it the same. There are those who only fear suffering from some injury or skin disease, while others for the simple fact that dry skin appears can already be a reason for anxiety.
Possible causes of this phobia
It should be noted that dermatopathophobia is not usually very common, its causes being quite nonspecific so far. However, it is believed that this disease can occur due to different factors. Among them, cognitive as well as hereditary elements can play an important role .
Thus, the appearance of this phobia may occur due to having suffered damage to the skin or having seen a case of someone with this pathology, which can generate hypochondria . Likewise, dermatopathophobia can also occur due to hereditary factors related to genetics.
It is important to add that this pathology may well appear at an early age, as well as in adulthood. In addition, it is said that larval dermatopathophobia is the one that usually occurs in most cases.
Symptoms of dermatopathophobia
The main symptoms that we can find in people who suffer from dermatopathophobia are, as in many other phobias: excessive sweating, palpitations, muscle tension, pupil dilation , nausea, chills, etc.
The main symptoms of this psychopathology are those that can be found in other phobias. They can occur on both physical, psychological and behavioral levels . The most common are palpitations, excessive sweating, muscle tension, nausea and all those symptoms that are characteristic of high anxiety. Next we will talk a little about each of them.
Some of the psychological symptoms of dermatopathophobia can be related to symptoms produced by anxiety. Finding themselves like this, the fears are quite present. Among some of these fears, the following may be found:
- Fear of suffering any type of skin burns.
- Fear of suffering from a skin disease from the use of cosmetic items.
- Anguish due to deformities or skin diseases caused by animal bites.
- Fear of skin damage due to temperature changes.
It should be noted that these fears are often exaggerated in many cases by those who suffer from this disease. Thus, each of these has an impact on the intensity of this pathology. The greater the fear, the worse the discomfort. Thus being able to present levels of fear such as:
- Irrational fear.
- Persistent fear
- Uncontrollable fear.
- Unspecific fear.
Dermatopathophobia can also be detected through some physical ailments. Being able to reach the anxiety produced by this pathology to affect the nervous system , thus causing discomfort. Some of them include the following:
- Cardiac alterations.
- Dizziness, vomiting, or nausea
- General malaise and excessive sweating.
- Chills and muscle tension.
These symptoms can be directly influenced by fears , thus, those who suffer from this psychological disorder adopt some changes in their behavior. In this way, people with dermatopathophobia can be seen to do everything possible to avoid getting close to anything that may represent a possible cause of skin disease.
Dermatopathophobia and Trypophobia
As we have specified previously there is sometimes confusion between this phobia and trypophobia. However, trypophobia is specifically the fear of geometric shapes and crowds, especially small or tiny holes. Likewise, people who suffer from dermatophobia have a great fear of having injuries or any type of disease that has to do with our largest organ, such as the skin, regardless of whether it is visual or not . Although their symptoms can be similar, they are two different phobias.
The main difference between both pathologies is that trypophobia is characterized by fear or repulsion that occurs towards a large number of accumulated circular figures. This may be present in some skin diseases.
Whereas, as mentioned before, dermatopathophobia is the fear of suffering any type of skin lesion. In addition, it does not follow geometric patterns of any kind at the time of presentation, unlike trypophobia.
Impact of dermatopathophobia on the social environment
Dermatopathophobia can negatively influence the social development of those who suffer from this psychopathology. This is because, it is possible that people with this difficulty and fear, always look for places that they consider safe for their skin health.
This is why, in cases where fears can become high, people could even feel panic about many factors. From smoke, creams, or anything that gives off heat, to other people suffering from skin diseases. Even talking about this topic could even cause them panic .
Likewise, it is possible that people who suffer from this phobia seek to relate to other individuals who take health precautions similar to theirs . Which can make social interaction very limited in cases where the fears produced by this phobia tend to be exaggerated.
People who suffer from this type of phobia, in the long run can experience behaviors of overcare of the skin and may even be afraid of the friction of the air itself . What can make you not want to go out or interact with other people, because it may cause a problem with your skin. This disorder, as can be seen, severely affects the mental health of the person, so it is advisable to go as soon as possible to a clinical psychologist , who helps in principle to alleviate at least the symptoms of said phobia.
How to overcome dermatopathophobia?
Currently, there is no specific treatment to cure dermatopathophobia . However, as this is a pathology originating at a psychological level, different mechanisms have been increasingly sought to address it.
One of the main aspects to be able to overcome this pathology is the will, since it depends a lot on the disposition of who suffers from this disease to contribute to its improvement. Likewise, ‘systematic destabilization’, by a clinical psychologist, has been a method used for decades, which basically consists of exposing oneself through the imagination, little by little to what is feared. In such a way that anxiety decreases.
It is important to seek to diagnose this psychological disorder in its earliest state , to proceed to the different existing methods to treat it. Since, if left untreated, it can become a chronic psychopathology, considerably affecting and limiting those who suffer from it.
It should be noted that, to seek any type of treatment or improvement in the face of this phobia, it is advisable to go to a health professional, in this case the clinical psychologist . Who will be in charge of carrying out the pertinent evaluation and diagnosis of this particular phobia. Each case in a specific way, taking into account the circumstances and personal characteristics of each of the affected persons.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.