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A Surprising Relationship: How Skin Health is Connected to ADHD


young girl pressing into cheeks with index fingers

You may not think that there is a connection between skin health and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the two actually have a lot in common. Both can be linked to poor diet, lack of sleep, and stress. Making lifestyle modifications to improve your child’s skin health, as well as working with a skin naturopath, can be a great way to help manage their condition. Taking care of their skin can help them feel better about themselves and may also help to reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD.


The link between skin health and ADHD

There is a strong connection between skin health and ADHD. Children with ADHD are more likely to suffer from skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis. In fact, one study found that nearly 40 percent of children with ADHD also had eczema.

Three of the main lifestyle triggers connected to skin problems in children with ADHD include diet, sleep and stress.

  1. Diet is thought to be one of the main triggers for ADHD. Processed foods, sugar, artificial additives, and food allergies are all common culprits. Processed foods are often high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. These spikes can trigger inflammation and lead to skin problems such as acne. These types of foods are often high in unhealthy fats and chemicals, which can also contribute to inflammation and skin problems. Finally, processed foods tend to be low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals, which are important for healthy skin. To help keep your child’s ADHD under control, it’s important they have a healthy diet that is low in sugar and high in protein and healthy fats.
  2. Sleep is also crucial for ADHD management. Most children with ADHD have trouble sleeping, which can make their symptoms worse. A lack of sleep can cause children to scratch their skin more, which can lead to irritation and inflammation. Additionally, lack of sleep can also lead to dry skin, as it doesn’t give the body enough time to recover from the day’s activities and repair the skin. Finally, lack of sleep can also impact the body’s immune system, making children with ADHD more susceptible to skin infections. A good night’s sleep can help improve focus and concentration, as well as reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity.
  3. Stress can also be a major trigger for ADHD symptoms. Children who are under a lot of stress may have trouble paying attention, controlling their impulses, and staying focused on tasks. There are many potential sources of stress in the lives of children with ADHD. School can be a major source of stress, as these children may feel like they are not performing up to their potential or that they are constantly being chastised by teachers. Social situations can also be difficult, as children with ADHD may have trouble making friends or keeping up with their peers. In addition, children with ADHD may feel like they are constantly under pressure to meet the expectations of their parents or other adults in their lives. All of these sources of stress can lead to skin problems in children with ADHD. If your child is under a lot of stress, it’s important to find ways to help them relax and reduce their anxiety.


Top tips to help your child maintain healthy skin

Here are some tips on how you can help improve your child’s skin health:

  1. Limit your child’s exposure to environmental triggers, such as dust, pollen, and pet dander.
  2. Help your child to establish a regular skincare routine and stick to it. This may involve cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing on a daily basis.
  3. Be gentle with their skin. Avoid harsh cleansers or scrubbing too vigorously, as this can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
  4. Choose skincare products that are designed for sensitive skin. This may help to reduce the likelihood of irritation or skin reactions.
  5. Avoid using too many products on their skin. Over-washing or over-treating the skin can strip it of its natural oils and cause dryness, redness, and flaking.
  6. Seek out hypoallergenic skincare products. These are less likely to contain ingredients that could trigger skin irritation or breakouts.
  7. Encourage them to drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. This can help to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.
  8. Tell them to avoid touching their face too much. This can transfer dirt and bacteria to the skin, which can lead to breakouts.
  9. Ensure they are getting regular exercise. This can help to improve circulation and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
  10. Reduce stress. Stress can worsen skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Finding ways to manage stress may help to improve the health of your child’s skin.
  11. See a naturopath that specializes in skin health. If you are struggling to manage your child’s skin health, it may be helpful to seek professional advice. A naturopathic doctor or skin health specialist can provide you with further guidance and recommendations based on your individual needs. They may recommend dietary changes or supplements to improve gut health, which can in turn help to clear up skin conditions. They may also recommend topical treatments or other natural remedies to soothe and heal the skin. Naturopaths focus on treating the whole person, so they may also recommend stress-reduction techniques or other lifestyle changes to help improve overall health and well-being.


If you think that your child’s skin conditions and ADHD might be connected, talk to their doctor or a skin health expert about the possibility of starting a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes. They can help to identify the cause of your child’s skin problems and develop a treatment plan that is right for them. With the right treatment, you can help manage both your child’s ADHD and their skin health.

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