BOSTON, MA — If you've ever blushed, you know your
skin can reflect your feelings. It makes sense, then, that emotional
trouble might show up as skin trouble. Although cause and effect can be
difficult to pin down, considerable data suggest that in some people,
psychological factors can activate or worsen certain skin conditions. Recognizing and treating these psychological issues might help the skin, too, reports the November 2006 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.
in the mind-skin connection has led to a field called
psychodermatology. Its aim is not to substitute psychotherapy for
medicine, but to recognize emotional issues that may affect the way
skin problems respond to medical treatment.
Psychodermatologic disorders are skin problems that can be aggravated by stress
and other emotional factors. These include acne, hair loss, eczema,
rosacea, and warts, among others. Socially stigmatizing skin disorders
such as severe acne, psoriasis, and herpes may also fall into this
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