The Science of Skin

We often get asked the question, “Why do you offer dermatology consults in a psychiatry practice?” Skin conditions are often overlooked as features of chronic illness, particularly in psychiatry. As the biggest organ of our bodies, our skin has the unique ability to communicate with us that something beneath the surface is out of balance. These may be subtle whispers – small, painless raised bumps on the back of the arms, or very obvious alarms – a bright red, itchy rash on the face and chest. Regardless of type or severity of symptom, the health of our skin demands attention as it can offer excellent information about whole body health.

With appreciation for the interconnectedness of the skin and mind, the field of psychodermatology was founded in Europe with the goal of providing patients with a more integrative treatment approach to their symptoms. It is starting to gain traction in the United States and more attention is being given to the skin-gut-brain connection. For example, a recent study cited by The New York Times highlights that acne sufferers are more likely to experience depression.

At Richmond Integrative Psychiatric and Nutrition Services, we already know the profound effects of chronic stress and poor nutrition can have on our gut. “When our gut is unhappy, it tends to also show up in the skin,” says Amy Black, NP, our resident specialist in dermatology. Using a functional medicine approach, we dive deep into the reasons why the skin is communicating with you and then help develop a plan to restore balance from the inside out.  To learn more about our psychodermatology services, visit or visit our Facebook page.