Stress and Hair loss

A Study of Medical Students

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An interesting study examined the effects of stress on a wide range of skin and scalp related symptoms. Study participants were medical students studying at College of Medicine, King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A standard questionnaire was used to assess stress levels as well as the presence or absence of a range of health conditions - including those affecting the scalp. When compared to least stressed students, highly stressed students (ie students self reporting that they were experiencing high stress levels) were much more likely to report experiencing a range of scalp symptoms including 1) having more oily, waxy patches and flakes on the scalp, 2) having hair loss and 3) experiencing the self induced pulling-out of one’s hair (trichotillomania).


It’s clear that stress can impact a range of dermatological conditions including hair loss. This study supports the notion that a variety of hair-related changes are possible with higher levels of psychological stress.


Bin Saif GA et al. Association of psychological stress with skin symptoms among medical students. Saudi Med J. 2018.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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