Psycho Dermatology

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Psychodermatology is the treatment of skin disorders using psychological and psychiatric techniques by addressing the interaction between mind and skin. Psychiatry is more focused on the “internal” invisible disease, and dermatology is focused on the “external” visible disease.

  • Mindfulness – to reduce stress or anxiety in patients with skin disease. This might be general mindfulness, aimed at reducing stress, or mindfulness tailored to specific conditions such as psoriasis.
  • Habit reversal – many conditions can lead people to develop harmful repetitive behaviours, such as scratching or skin picking. Habit reversal looks at how to reduce or break these habits.
  • Relationships – relationships, platonic or sexual, are central to our lives. Living with a skin condition can sometimes make forming new relationships difficult. Psychodermatology can help build confidence and overcome social anxiety, as well as giving practical advice on the matter.


Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition where skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry, and painful patches. There is no cure for psoriasis, but disease symptoms are treatable and manageable.

In addition to affecting the skin, psoriasis can affect a person’s mental health. Research shows people with psoriasis are more likely to develop depression. This is because psoriasis has a major impact on mental health and well-being due to numerous factors, including stress of living with the condition, inflammation, pain, and fatigue.


Eczema can have several root causes. In some people, eczema stems from a genetic mutation that affects your body’s ability to make a skin protein called filaggrin. Without enough of this protein, your skin can get dry easily. This makes you more susceptible to skin irritation and outbreaks. You can also get eczema from allergic reactions.

Outbreaks of eczema, as is the case with other skin conditions, can be triggered by stress. Stress causes a spike in the hormone cortisol (sometimes called the stress hormone). When your body produces high amounts of cortisol because of stress, your skin can become abnormally oily. This can then trigger an eczema outbreak. One study also suggests that stress makes it harder for your skin to recover from irritation and skin damage. Not only does stress cause eczema, it can make eczema outbreaks last longer and make you feel more stressed as a result. This can lead to a seemingly endless cycle.

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