How Stress Affects Skin
Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.
Have you ever noticed that you break out more when youre stressed? This is because stress causes your body to make hormones like cortisol, which tells glands in your skin to make more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems.
Stress can also:
Interfere with daily skin care. If youre stressed, you might skimp on this part of your routine, which can aggravate skin issues.
It can also be stressful to have problems with your skin. Some people feel so bad about how it looks that they keep to themselves, which adds more stress.
If you have an issue that doesn’t heal or keeps coming back, rethink how you handle stress.
The Link Between Stress Eczema And Pregnancy
If you suffer eczema and are pregnant, then you need to be even more aware of the effects that stress and eczema could have on your baby.
Eczema is extremely common in children.
Because a babys skin is so hypersensitive to all of the triggers around it, causing it to react with eczema symptoms. However many children tend to grow out of this before they reach adulthood.
How is this connected to the actual pregnancy?
This means that, if you are pregnant, feeling stressed will not only trigger your own eczema to flare up, but will also increase the likelihood that your child will experience eczema flare-ups too.
Home Remedies To Treat Eczema
Eczema is a condition that results in inflammation of the skin. The affected area becomes itchy, sore and inflamed. Blistering, cracking and oozing are also common symptoms of eczema. One of the most common skin conditions in children, eczema is often misdiagnosed as an allergic reaction.
Medical professionals have long prescribed steroid creams to treat eczema, yet only 2% of patients with moderate to severe eczema and 8% of patients with mild to moderate eczema report that these creams are moderately or very effective.
Instead, many patients have had success with the following natural remedies:
Also Check: Phototherapy For Eczema At Home
Eczema Coping Tips Diet
In most cases, eczema isnt caused or made worse by diet. If you notice that your eczema seems to get worse after eating a particular food, you may be an exception to this. See your doctor or dietitian for proper allergy testing and dietary advice.Never self-diagnose or you risk depriving yourself of enjoyable and nutritious foods for no good reason. Unnecessarily avoiding certain foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
What Are Some Ways To Prevent Facial Eczema Due To Wearing A Face Mask
- Cleanse your face with a gentle wash, pat dry the skin and then add moisturizer before and after putting on a mask.
Moisturizers add a protective layer that can reduce the dryness that comes from wearing a face mask. Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer that is best for your skin type.
Dont use makeup in areas covered by the mask. Makeup on skin covered by a mask can clog your pores and cause flare-ups, according to the American Academy of Dermatology .
- Wear a cloth mask made of two layers of fabric.
CDC recommends using cotton, or with cotton as the inside layer. The mask should be easy to wash and breathable. If cotton is not available, any soft, lightweight fabric should do. Synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester or rayon are more likely to irritate your skin.
- Make sure its a well-fitting mask.
The mask should not be so tight that it presses against your skin. It should not be so loose that it moves around and rubs against your skin. Try out different masks to find one that is best for you.
- Avoid N95 masks unless youre a frontline healthcare professional.
N95 masks are made from synthetic plastic fibers, usually polypropylene . They fit tightly. More than one-third of healthcare workers reported facial itch, rash or acne after wearing N95 masks daily for several months, according to AAD.
- Wash your cloth mask often.
Many face mask companies are responding to the need for washable, skin-safe face masks using soft fabrics.
You May Like: Is Blue Star Ointment Good For Eczema
The Importance Of Sleep When You Have Eczema
Easier said than done, right? People living with eczema know how difficult it is to sleep when your skin is itchy and uncomfortable. If eczema is keeping you or your child awake at night, talk with your doctor about how to get a better handle on your symptoms. Taking an antihistamine before bed can help you become drowsy. Enjoying warm, relaxing baths or showers and lathering on the moisturizer before bed can induce sleepiness and stave off itch. It also helps to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary by keeping the room dark, cool and clean, and limiting the use of electronics an hour or two before bedtime.
How Stress May Trigger Eczema
When considering the relation between stress and eczema, it has been suggested that stress results in a spike in the hormone cortisol. When cortisol is produced in an excessive amount because of stress, the skin tends to become abnormally oily. As a result, you may encounter an eczema outbreak.
A study also suggests that stress affects skin conditions and increases the time required for the skin to recover from irritation and skin damage. Stress can not only trigger eczema but may also result in chronic eczema flare-ups that can leave an individual more stressed. This often forms an apparently endless cycle.
Another study revealed that the stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of eczema outbreaks in infants. The study included approximately 900 mothers, their children and analyzed their stress levels during their pregnancy stage. It was reported that women with a high anxiety levels during their pregnancy increased their infants chances of developing eczema, when they were between 6 and 8 months old.
In case of those with eczema, stress leaves an adverse impact on the immune system. As a result, the process of wound healing is badly affected and becomes slow. The immune system fails to induce a quick response to repair the tissues.
You May Like: What Helps Eczema On Legs
Stress Anxiety And Eczema
Stress and anxiety are known to be common triggers that can cause eczema to flare up. This can then lead to even more stress and anxiety which can, in turn, lead to even more flares. Reducing stress and anxiety in your life may help break this cycle. Talk with your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your stress and anxiety.
Getting Help And Support
Speak to your doctor, who can suggest local support groups and healthy lifestyle advice. These may help you feel better able to cope with both stress and your skin problem.
You may not be able to avoid stress altogether. But there are ways to reduce stress levels and its impact on your skin.
If youre worried about your mental health, our direct access service aims to provide you with the advice, support and treatment you need as quickly as possible. If youre covered by your health insurance, youll be able to get mental health advice and support usually without the need for a GP referral. Learn more today.
More discover articles…
The Impact Stress Has On Your Eczema & How To Ease This Eczema Trigger
Eczema is a complex skin condition and its often difficult to identify the underlying cause. However, one trigger that seems to persistently recur is stress, with many sufferers recognising emotional stress as a major instigator. Today, I explore this connection and discuss how stress can affect your eczema symptoms, as well as what you can do to minimise its impact!
How Can Face Masks Cause Or Worsen Eczema
Face masks that are too tight or made of fabric that is scratchy or uncomfortable can rub against the face, causing irritation. Some masks may absorb the natural moisture on your face, drying out your skin.
When youre breathing out into a face mask, you redirect your own airflow back on to your face. This traps your breath inside your mask. It can cause dry, red and itchy skin.
Prolonged face mask use can also cause facial acne and rosacea.
In addition, we live in a uniquely stressful time due to the pandemic. Stress is a known eczema trigger. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, develop some stress-coping activities. Talk with a mental health specialist.
Recommended Reading: Natural Remedies For Eczema In Kids
Psychological Therapy For Eczema
A relatively new type of therapy for people with skin conditionssuch as eczemais called psychodermatology. The therapy focuses on the psychological issues involved in skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.
The professionals who are trained in psychodermatology specialize in addressing issues such as social anxiety and depression .
This field of psychology is said to be well-established in Europe but is slow to becoming a mainstream therapy in the U.S. There are only a few psychodermatology clinics around the country. You can find a limited list of therapists who specialize in this type of therapy at the Association for Psychoneurocutaneous Medicine of North America site.
Managing Your Stress Levels
While there are many steps that you can take to soothe your skin during an eczema flare-up, it goes without saying that prevention is better than cure.
This means learning how to manage your stress levels and keep them well under control.
Does this sound impossible?
There are actually quite a few scientifically-proven ways to reduce stress.
Want to know what these are?
The first is exercising, and this needs to be done every single day in order for it to really have an effect.
Dont believe that a little exercise can really make such a big difference?
There are countless studies out there that prove this. In fact, recent studies have even shown that when you work on strengthening your muscles, this causes them to release enzymes that detoxify the body of the substances that stress and inflammation cause.
Exercise also encourages your brain to release endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that boost the mood.
Finally, just the repetitive motion that comes with exercise works in a similar way to meditation, calming the mind.
Even if you do not enjoy exercising, there are plenty of ways to get active that do not involve a sport or going to the gym. Try taking a brisk walk with a friend every evening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or finding a hobby that involves you staying on your feet for a while.
Want to give this a try?
There are so many breathing exercises out there, but one of the most effective is the 4-7-8 method.
Here are the steps to follow:
Read Also: Pictures Of Eczema On Arms And Legs
Importance Of Eczema Treatment
There is growing evidence that allergens introduced into the body through the skin can lead to the later development of food allergy, asthma and hay fever. Aggressively treating eczema in children and taking steps to restore normal skin barrier function may lower the risk of future development of these conditions.
The Added Burden Of Comorbidities
The presence of comorbidities also contributes to the stress and eczema exacerbation cycle. Dr. Levenberg states that “some patients with eczema also suffer from co-morbidities, such as anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, or other atopic diseases, like asthma, hay fever or food allergy. These associated conditions create their own stress and underlying chronic inflammation, and can contribute to a patient’s eczema.” In fact, more than 20% of adults with eczema also have asthma, and they have a two to four times increased risk of having allergic rhinitis and food allergy.
In addition to atopic co-morbidities, studies show that over 30% of people with atopic skin disease suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Psychosocial stressors such as the stigma faced when people assume rashes are ‘contagious,’ fear of showing inflamed skin at a hair salon or swimming pool, or the financial strain of disease management, all contribute to the anxiety associated with eczema. Anxiety and depression can be common triggers in some individuals that can cause eczema to flare up, which then creates further stress, leading to more eczema exacerbations.
Don’t Miss: The Best Cream For Eczema On Face
Tips For Reducing Stress
Although getting rid of stress in your life certainly wont result in a cure, it may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of eczema.
Action steps that may alleviate or lower stress include:
- Implement relaxation techniques .
- Get involved in yoga or a similar Eastern practice aimed at promoting relaxation .
- Establish and maintain a regular exercise routine .
- Seek out the support of others (family, friends and/or a
- formal support group).
- Explore options for individual or group therapy when needed.
- Seek medical intervention for symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Can Stress And Anxiety Cause You To Break Out In Hives
Stress and anxiety can cause hives. For this reason, sometimes hives might be called stress hives or a stress rash.
For example, when youre under a great deal of stress, your body sends a message to its immune cells, telling them to release powerful chemicals most notably, histamine. Histamine triggers inflammation and the itchiness associated with hives.
Stress is only one of several triggers that can cause symptoms like skin rashes or hives. Other causes of skin rashes include:
Food allergens, such as peanuts, shellfish, or spicy foods
Pollen, dust, or animal dander
Irritating chemicals, such as laundry detergents
Viral or bacterial infections
Autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid disease
Insect bites and stings
Hives is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. However, studies have shown that women are more affected by hives than men.
Don’t Miss: Best Places To Live With Eczema
How Can Anxiety Cause Eczema
If youâve ever felt like your eczema flares up at exactly the wrong time, it might be your bodyâs way of responding to your pre-big-presentation-at-work tension. âAny type of stress, whether physical or mental, can worsen just about every skin problem,â Dr. Allen tells Bustle. âEczema is no exception.â
That doesnât mean your anxiety has your eczema, Dr. Allen explains â but if youâre already predisposed to it, stress can definitely cause a flare-up. You might be likely to have it, she says, if you have a family history of eczema, dry skin, or are being exposed to cold temperatures and low humidity.
Why does stress impact your skin like this? It has to do with your immune system and all those stress responses your body has. âEczema may be a response to a compromised immune system due to the excessive release of stress hormones, triggered by your body’s prolonged fight-or-flight response to stress,â says board-certified clinical psychologist Jenny Yip, Psy.D. In other words, when your entire week is thrown off-kilter by that ill-advised trip through your exâs social media page, your body becomes hypervigilant against perceived danger, cuing eczema.
Eczema Treatments And Covid
When taking systemic medication, it is advised that you avoid live vaccines. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States contain a live virus. Therefore, if you are taking a treatment that affects the immune system, it is advised that you can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Even though it is considered safe to have the COVID-19 vaccine, clinicians advise they still do not know whether being on an immunosuppressant or biologic treatment will reduce the vaccine’s effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in this area.
If you take immunosuppressants, systemic, or biologic medication for your eczema and are concerned about whether you are more at risk from COVID-19, then speak to your healthcare professional for support and advice.
Some clinicians advocate taking extra safety precautions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 if you are on multiple medications or have additional underlying health conditions.
Read Also: How To Tell If You Have Eczema On Your Scalp
Can Stress Cause Eczema
Evidence for the link between eczema and stress
Eczema and stress: a vicious circle
Stress management techniques linked to eczema improvement