Stress as an influencing factor in psoriasis

Skin Therapy Lett. 2011 May;16(5):1-4.


Emotional stress may influence the development and exacerbation of psoriasis. The proportion of psoriasis patients who believe stress affects their skin condition (i.e., "stress responders") is considerably high, ranging from 37% to 78%. Stress may worsen psoriasis severity and may even lengthen the time to disease clearance. Although a pathogenic association appears likely, additional well-controlled studies are necessary to confirm such a causal relationship. Dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic adrenomedullary systems has been proposed as one possible underlying cause of stress-induced flares of psoriasis. While stress may be an exacerbating factor, psoriasis itself may contribute to significant adverse psychological sequelae. Breaking this stress cycle may be an important part of any therapeutic approach. Thus, stress reduction through psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy may be useful in treating psoriatic patients who are stress responders.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / metabolism
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / physiopathology
  • Psoriasis / psychology*
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy