Try to Relax: Stress May Be the Cause of Your Skin Problems


If your scalp itches and hair falls out, your shampoo may be fine, but your stress level may be off the charts, according to a Temple University study that links stress and skin problems. (Getty Images)

The study was conducted at Temple’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine and is published in the journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica. Researches asked 422 undergraduates to report their perceived psychological stress and skin problems. The survey found that participants in the “high stress” group suffered many more skin problems than those in the “low stress” groups.

The skin problems included:

· Pruritus (itchy skin)

· Alopecia (hair loss)

· Oily, waxy or flaky patches on the scalp

· Hyperhidrosis (troublesome sweating)

· Scaly skin

· Onychophagia (nail biting)

· Itchy rash on hands

· Trichotillomania (hair pulling)

Surprisingly, the study showed no association between stress and pimples, rashes, or warts.

Dr. Gil Yosopovitch, founder and director of the Temple Itch Center and an author of the study, told Yahoo Health he was surprised by “the extent” of the skin problems that stressed out college kids reported.

“Itch was number one,” he says. “I knew the association of stress to itch, because I see that all the time.” But the survey showed that stress and itch are connected in the “generation population.”

The study also suggests that “non-pharmacologic therapeutic interventions,” like yoga, meditation and exercise, might be more effective than medication, or would be helpful in conjunction with medication.

“I am not a guy who would tell you just take pills and that would solve everything,” Yosopovitch says.

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