Although the term may seem to have a negative connotation, Psychodermatology simply refers to the treatment of skin diseases with psychological techniques, such as:
The powerful connection between the mind and the body is well-known, and many skin disorders show a clear relationship to the state of mind: stress and sleep deprivation, for example, can directly damage skin barrier function, in patients with atopic dermatitis and even in patients with normal skin.
Scratching in eczema can also become a habitual behavior, sometimes brought out during times of increased stress.
Several studies have shown positive effects from these techniques in patients with eczema. They appear to be very safe and may help minimize exposure to treatments with more side effects.
However, there are several downsides to this approach:
Psychodermatology may be of help in certain situations and for select patients, and is worth considering when treatments with more side effects are being discussed.