Are Your Skin Problems All In Your Head?

If you've ever suspected that your skin or hair reflects the stress you're going through, you could be on to something. An emerging medical trend called psychodermatology sheds light on the correlation between skin and emotions.

A growing number of dermatologists have come to realize that their patients' stress or depression is capable of not only upsetting their skin and hair-inflaming conditions like acne and psoriasis, and amplifying hair loss)-it can even lessen the effects of prescribed treatments. According to Dr. Ted Grossbart, a Harvard psychology professor and author of Skin Deep: A New Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin, emotional problems can keep the most scientifically advanced medications from working.

Studies have shown that practices like relaxation tapes, therapy, antidepressants and biofeedback have reversed skin flare-ups and grown back hair in alopecia patients. There is even a growing practice known as hypnodermatology, where hypnosis is used to treat skin conditions that appear to be affected by emotional stressors.

Experts have varying opinions on the validity of this relatively new subspeciality. However, if you feel like you've tried just about everything to improve upon your skin or hair woes, it may be worth looking beneath the surface for a solution.