Skin care and lymphedema go hand in hand. It is one of the 4 pillars of complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Hopefully if you have been to formal therapy for lymphedema, you have been told the importance of things like keeping your skin clean and well moisturized, look for cuts or cracks in your skin and treat them seriously.
Skin is an amazing organ. It has the obvious roles of protection but also is involved in a range of complex biological processes. Skin regulates body temperature through sweat glands and blood vessels. Skin contains cells that manufacture vitamin D. Skin wards of bacteria and viruses. All of these are reasons to care for our skin.
There is a subspecialty of medicine called psychodermatology which looks at the connection between emotion and skin. Psychodermatologic disorders can fall into 3 categories according to Harvard…
Psychophysiological: These problem have a physiological basis but can be exacerbated by stress or other emotional factories
Secondary psychiatric: a skin disorder can produce feelings of shame or humiliation,etc.
Primay psychiatric: some skin difficulties are a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.
Psychodermatology looks at both how emotion can affect the skin and how the condition of the skin can affect emotion. One of the emotions being researched is stress. Researchers have found that some types of stress can interfere with the immune system and that chronic negative stress may disrupt the permeability barrier of the skin. This is thought to be a factor in many skin diseases. A detailed description of pscyhoimmunulogy can be found here: https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychodermatology-when-mind-and-skin-interact.
One of these emotions is stress. Researchers have found that some types of stress can interfere with the immune system and that chronic negative stress may disrupt the permeability barrier of the skin which is thought to be a factor in many skin diseases.
What this says to me is that there is hope. We may not be able to control many of the aspects of a condition such as lymphedema but we CAN control our emotions and teach ourselves how to manage stress. I encourage you to look for systems or techniques that help you to manage stress.