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Dermatofobia: causes, symptoms and treatments

Dermatofobia: causes, symptoms and treatments

June 15, 2024

Within the long list of more than 200 registered phobias there are some more known than others. One of the least knowledge that has but that generates a great discomfort in those who suffer is dermatofobia.

Throughout this article we will describe the characteristics of dermatophobia, as well as its symptoms, causes and what treatments have been most effective for this phobia related to skin problems or diseases.

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What is dermatophobia?

Also known as dermatopatofobia or dermatosiofobia, dermatophobia is one of the many specific phobias that a small percentage of the population suffers from. This anxiety disorder is characterized because, in the cases of people who suffer it, it appears a deep terror of skin diseases or any kind of damage that occurs on the skin .

Although it is not a phobia too common, dermatophobic people experience extremely high levels of discomfort and anxiety, reaching the point of living obsessed, hyperprotecting their skin so that it does not suffer any damage and performing constant checkups and checks of the state of your skin .

Another of the main characteristics of dermatophobia is the great variety of manifestations that this causes in different people. Since any stimulus that can represent or be a precursor to a skin disease is likely to be perceived as a threat, It is complex to determine exactly what is causing the anxiety response in the person .

For example, a person with dermatofobia may experience an anxiety response when they notice that their skin is a bit dry, while another may react to an itch or believe that the use of cosmetics or soaps may damage their skin. Therefore, in dermatophobia the interpretation of the stimulus depends completely on the person's criteria.

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Fears associated with this disorder

Unlike other phobias, in dermatofobia the person may fear both the fact of suffering from a skin disease and those other objects or external agents that may cause it.

Likewise, this phobia is not caused by a series of concrete or fixed stimuli , but these can vary depending on the beliefs or subjectivity of the person.

Therefore, other stimuli associated with dermatophobia that can generate an anxiety response in the person are:

1. Insects

The only possibility that an insect causes any type of injury or damage to the skin through a bite, causes in the person an anxiety response typical of a disorder of anxiety.

2. Changes in temperatures

Both sudden changes in temperature, as well as cold or hot situations can cause itching or irritation of the skin, as well as dryness . Therefore, a person with dermatofobia will tend to avoid any context in which these changes may occur.

3. Burns

A person with dermatofobia will tend to avoid spaces where there are fires such as chimneys or places where people are smoking since the possibility of it burning is perceived as very high .

4. Needles

Although these have a specific phobia, it is not the needle itself that causes fear but the possible damage it may cause to the skin.

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5. Piercings and tattoos

Both the idea of ​​making a tattoo or piercing and the fact of observing them on the skin of others causes a sensation of aversion or repulsion in dermatophobic persons .


Since dermatobia is included within the category of specific anxiety disorders, shares its symptoms with most phobias .

This wide range of symptoms occurs as a result of an increase in the activity of the nervous system which accelerates in the presence of the nervous stimulus. This activity causes three types of symptoms in the person: physical symptoms, cognitive symptoms and behavioral symptoms.

1. Physical symptomatology

In the moments in which the dermatophobic person perceives a change in their skin or is faced with a possible threatening stimulus they begin to urinate a series of changes in their own organism of the anxiety response. Among these changes are included.

  • Increase in the cardiac rate.
  • Accelerated breathing .
  • Palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle tension .
  • Headaches
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Sickness .
  • Chills or tremors.
  • Feeling of unreality

2. Cognitive symptoms

Like the rest of phobias, the appearance of physical symptoms is triggered by a cognitive symptomatology. That is, by a series of beliefs and fears that the person has in relation to the phobic stimulus .

In this case, the person has a series of distorted thoughts or erroneous beliefs about cutaneous diseases, their symptoms and the agents that cause them.

3. Behavioral symptoms

As a consequence of the cognitive symptoms mentioned above, the person will also experience a series of behavioral symptoms, which manifest themselves through avoidance or escape behaviors .

Therefore, in dermatofobia people will carry out all kinds of behaviors to avoid changes in the state of their skin, such as constant checks, excessive hygiene or fear of using cosmetics or avoid areas where they may encounter possible threats.


As with many other anxiety disorders, the causes or origins of dermatofobia have not been established specifically .

However, it is hypothesized that a genetic predisposition linked to the experience of some type of highly stressful or traumatic situation in which the person, or someone very close, had suffered some damage to the skin could cause the appearance of this type of phobia.


In the treatment of dermatofobia is essential the use of psychotherapy to end distorted thoughts and beliefs that generate the rest of symptoms. In addition, intervention through systematic desensitization along with relaxation training is usually the most effective option.

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Extirpación de gusanos debajo de la piel - vídeo insólito - oh XD. (June 2024).

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