Psycho dermatology: the mind and skin connection

Am Fam Physician. 2001 Dec 1;64(11):1873-8.


A psychodermatologic disorder is a condition that involves an interaction between the mind and the skin. Psychodermatologic disorders fall into three categories: psychophysiologic disorders, primary psychiatric disorders and secondary psychiatric disorders. Psychophysiologic disorders (e.g., psoriasis and eczema) are associated with skin problems that are not directly connected to the mind but that react to emotional states, such as stress. Primary psychiatric disorders involve psychiatric conditions that result in self-induced cutaneous manifestations, such as trichotillomania and delusions of parasitosis. Secondary psychiatric disorders are associated with disfiguring skin disorders. The disfigurement results in psychologic problems, such as decreased self-esteem, depression or social phobia. Most psychodermatologic disorders can be treated with anxiety-decreasing techniques or, in extreme cases, psychotropic medications.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological* / diagnosis
  • Trichotillomania / physiopathology
  • Trichotillomania / therapy