Psychodermatology Overview

Effectiveness of Psychodermatology

While psychodermatology exists as an alternative approach to skin care, the field does not ignore traditional treatments. Instead, a typical psychodermatology treatment is often a combination of conventional medications and stress-relieving psychological remedies. Because prescribed treatments -- traditional and otherwise -- are unique to an individual, it is difficult to resolutely qualify the effectiveness of psychodermatology. Medical professionals are pretty much split in their opinions on how beneficial the practice is. People who are skeptical of psychodermatology cite the practice's heavy reliance on anecdotal results rather than quantifiable studies. And many dermatologists feel that patients with positive responses to psychodermatology are simply reacting to the traditional medications [source: Singer].

In spite of these criticisms of psychodermatology, some research has shown clear links between skin diseases and psychological factors. In one study, 50 to 90 percent of patients with chronic conditions, like psoriasis, acne, eczema and rosacea, had emotional triggers [source: Jafferany]. This evidence is one of psychodermatologists' major arguments. They believe that these emotional stressors can make traditional medicines less effective, so removing the stressors has to be part of a patient's treatment. The American Academy of Dermatology concluded that when dermatologists treat both skin and the source of stress, the skin clears more quickly as stress decreases [source: American Academy of Dermatology].

While there is some disagreement in the medical community on whether or not psychodermatology is an effective approach, there aren't really any disadvantages to trying it out [source: Singer]. As long as you keep undergoing traditional treatment, a mind-clearing exercise like yoga probably can't hurt -- and may even help you become healthier overall.

Read on for more on what psychodermatologists can do for you and your skin.