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York psychology grad links stress and skin health

York psychology grad links stress and skin health

It's not all in your head. There really is a connection between your emotional state and your skin, says psychologist Linda Papadopoulos [BA Hons. ’93], reported the Ottawa Citizen Sept. 10. 

The Canadian-born-and-raised Papadopoulos has called Britain home for the past 14 years. She is known there as both a leading academic and as "Dr. Linda", a popular media commentator and adviser to the British government. She has her own skin-care line, LP Skin Therapy, which retails, among other places, in the luxury British department store Harrods.  

"The skin and the psyche are interconnected. You don't have to be a psychologist to understand the link stress has to your skin," says Papadopoulos, who is the author of eight books, ranging from the academic text Psychodermatology: The Psychological Impact of Skin Disorders to Mirror Mirror: Dr. Linda's Body Image Revolution.  

Papadopoulos became interested in the effect skin conditions have on personality because her cousin had vitiligo, a relatively rare disorder that causes depigmentation, creating light patches of skin. "She went from being open to being very quiet," she recalls.  

"You realize that in our beauty obsessed society, if you look less than perfect, it can have a profound impact on your self-esteem. Girls feel valued by how they look," says Papadopoulos, who did her undergraduate degree at Toronto's York University before moving to Britain to do graduate work. She is a correspondent to the BBC and CNN, and a contributing editor to Cosmopolitan magazine's British edition.  

Listen to your skin and realize it is a reflection of more than beauty, she urges.  

One of the best ways to be resilient is to have a self-esteem that goes far beyond how you look, says Papadopoulos, who was commissioned by the British Home Office to write a series of recommendations for the government on the sexualization of children and teens. (Among her recommendations: put warning symbols on magazine spreads that feature photoshopped models, which help convince impressionable girls that praying mantis-skinny is normal.)  

Self-worth has to be built on factors other than good looks, she says. "It should be based on how funny you are, how smart, how well you play the cello."  

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.