Kathmandu, June 2

It is necessary for youths to relieve themselves of stress if they want to look smart and beautiful. Stress is behind skin problems among youth, said experts.

“Stress causes different skin diseases,” said Anup Bastola, consultant physician and dermatologist in tropical medicine at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.

He said, it is a triggering factor for a lot of cutaneous (skin affecting) diseases, including acne, alopecia areata (patchy hair loss in hairy area of the body), psoriasis (scaly red skin lesion), vitiligo (white patches), lichen planus (itchy skin lesions in the hand and foot/oral mucosa), atopic dermatitis (itchy skin lesions among children and adolescents), Urticaria (hives/ allergy) and others.

However, some skin diseases can be triggered by stress, including seborrhoeic dermatitis (dandruff), hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in palms, soles and other auxiliary areas), herpes (fever blisters) among others.

The skin disease itself could induce a secondary stress in a patient, influencing quality of life, he said, adding that anxiety and depression could change the perception of the patient.

According to Bastola, acne vulgaris is a common skin problem among teenagers. It usually affects face, chest, arms and back. It is characterised by white heads, black heads, red papule, pustules, and nodules in those areas.

Eighty-five per cent of teenagers are affected by acne. It is usually seen among 15-18 years old teenagers of both sexes. Twelve per cent women and 3 per cent men continue to have acne up to 44 years of age.

About six to seven youths come to hospital daily for treatment of skin diseases, he added.

Stress is seen as a precipitating factor for acne lesions, besides hot weather, excessive sweat, poor hygiene, smoking, alcohol intake or chocolates. Many youngsters feel embarrassed or self-conscious because of acne.

Other than stress, menstrual cycle or hormonal influences, facial hygiene or picking and squeezing of acne lesions, may contribute to the worsening of acne.

‘Regular use of moisturiser, good sleep, balanced diet, maintaining personal hygiene, sun protection creams (sun screen), avoiding irrational creams and hair colours are the best remedies for prevention of skin diseases,” said Bastola.

Other physical problems related to chronic stress include the lowering of the immune response, chronic muscle tension, and increased blood pressure. These problems can eventually lead to life-threatening illnesses.