Stress may cause skin problems: study

New York :Higher psychological stress may be associated with skin complaints such as itchy skin and flaky patches on the scalp among college students, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

The study by researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) and Temple University in US aimed to assess the relationship between perceived psychological stress and the prevalence of various skin symptoms in a large, randomly selected sample of undergraduate students. 422 students participated in the study.

“Previous studies have demonstrated an association between stress and skin symptoms, but those studies relied on small patient samples, did not use standardised tools, are anecdotal in nature, or focused their analyses on a single skin disease,” Gil Yosopovitch of the Department of Dermatology and an author of the study said.

Researchers, including Mansha Sethi from the Department of Dermatology and Temple Itch Centre at LKSOM, divided the respondents into groupings labelled as low stress, moderate stress and high stress.

The high stress group suffered significantly more often from itchy skin, hair loss, oily, waxy or flaky patches on the scalp, troublesome sweating, scaly skin, nail biting, itchy rash on hands, and hair pulling as compared to low stress subjects.

“Our findings highlight the need for health care/dermatology providers to ask these patients about their perceived levels of psychological stress,” Yosopovitch added.

“These findings further suggest that non-pharmacologic therapeutic interventions should be considered for patients presenting with both skin conditions and heightened levels of psychological stress,” he said. The study was published in the journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica.