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Feeling Stressed?
Date:11/8/2007

advise patients to avoid any strange diets where only one or two foods are allowed, as improper nutrition and extreme or rapid weight loss can result in hair loss."

Effects of Stress on Nails

Nails are not immune to showing outward signs of stress, and some people develop the nervous habit of biting their nails or picking at them when they feel stressed. Another stress-related nail habit that Dr. Mayoral discussed is people who rub their fingers over their thumb nail, which can create a ridge across the nail. This rubbing causes a distortion of the nail plate, and when the nail grows, a raised ridge forms in the middle of the nail. In addition, physical or emotional stress, certain diseases, and chemotherapy can cause white horizontal lines to appear across the nails. Brittle, peeling nails also are a common side effect of stress.

"Sometimes patients with nail problems are not aware that their habits or tics from being stressed out or nervous are at the root of their problem," said Dr. Mayoral. "There are instances where patients self-inflict skin, hair or nail problems that go beyond what we normally expect from stress, and these patients often need psychological help to modify their behavior."

In her practice, Dr. Mayoral finds it beneficial to give patients the tools to help themselves cope with stress-related skin flares, particularly patients with eczema, acne, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis where outward symptoms are obvious. For example, Dr. Mayoral teaches her acne patients how to modify their treatment regimen to deal with flare-ups from stress -- which gives them control to help themselves during stressful periods.

"Being in control of your situation can help relieve stress," said Dr. Mayoral. "For instance, I teach my acne patients who use a topical acne medication once a day how to safely use the medication more frequently to counter the effects of stress. If this doesn't work, they know to call me or come in to the off
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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