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Can Stress Make Eczema Flare Up

First Look At Your Diet

Stress flare UPS | What to do | Stress and eczema flare-ups

Even if you cant eliminate the source of your stress, you may still be able to help yourself cope better with the ordeal. Thats why Id recommend starting with your diet.

As I mentioned earlier, food intolerances can play a role in eczema, not to mentioned that certain food products such as refined sugar, can impact the overall health of your skin please check this article The bitter truth about sugar and your skin, if you want to learn more.

Consider Using Steroid Creams For A Short Period

Steroid creams also known as topical corticosteroids can be used to reduce swelling, redness and itching. If the severity of your flare-up isnt improving with regular emollient use, steroid creams can be useful in the short term as they reduce inflammation in the skin, says Dr McClymont.

You can buy a mild steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, over the counter from a pharmacy, and stronger creams are available with a prescription from a GP. In rare cases of severe eczema, oral steroid tablets may be considered.

What Does Eczema Look And Feel Like

Eczema flare-ups can affect any part of the skin, but the areas most commonly affected tend to be the face, the hands and the sensitive areas of skin around the joints, such as the back of the knees or inside the elbows.

Typically, eczema appears as patches of itchy and cracked, scaly or peeling skin that can feel rough to the touch, explains Dr McClymont. Sometimes the skin may also appear blistered, weepy, thickened, crusty, bumpy or swollen.

Read Also: How To Rid Of Eczema On Face

How Does Stress Affect Eczema

When your body becomes stressed and releases the stress hormones cortisol, and adrenaline, into the body, there is a physical response. When too much cortisol is released, this can suppress your immune system and cause an inflammatory response. As we know, eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder so when further inflammation occurs due to stress, eczema symptoms will be exacerbated and can cause an eczema outbreak. Stress-related dermatitis is very common.

Additionally, because too much stress and cortisol can suppress the immune system, it can be more difficult for eczema to clear up. If you are already experiencing an eczema flareup, and become stressed, healing will take more time. One last major effect that stress can have on eczema is in pregnant women. If a pregnant woman suffers from eczema and experiences stress during her pregnancy, the infant is at a higher risk of also developing eczema in the first year of life. In fact, in general, it is common for children to experience eczema which is why we discuss eczema treatment for kids.

Eczema: A Psychodermatologic Disorder

Stress flare UPS

Eczema is considered a psychodermatologic disorder, which means that its a physical condition tied to emotional health. When youre stressed out at work or school or overwhelmed by bills or projects at home, your skin can react. For many people, eczema is well-controlled with treatments. But for those whose eczema doesnt respond well to treatments, such as moisturizers and topical corticosteroid ointments, its time to look at whether stress is triggering or worsening eczema symptoms.

  • Eczema is considered a psychodermatologic disorder, which means that its a physical condition tied to emotional health.
  • For many people, eczema is well-controlled with treatments.

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Next Take A Look At Your Lifestyle

Once you have your diet under control, you could look at your lifestyle.

Slow down & take some time for yourself: If your day-to-day routine is busy and hectic, its important that you try and set aside some time for yourself every day, at least 30 minutes. Its also essential that you get plenty of good-quality sleep as this can have a huge impact on your overall happiness and wellbeing, as our sleep advisor Marianna details in her blog, Is a good nights sleep the key to happiness?

Exercise regulary: Getting plenty of exercise can also help to lower your stress levels. If you are new to working out, I would recommend starting with a low-impact form of exercise such as yoga, which can teach you deep breathing techniques, enabling you to cope with stress better. If you are more used to exercise, though, you could try running or cycling, which can be great for getting you outdoors and exposing you to more vitamin D!

Try a gentle stress remedy: Finally, if you feel that stress is really starting to take over your life, you could try our natural, gentle stress remedy, AvenaCalm, which works gradually to ease the symptoms of mild stress and anxiety, restoring a sense of balance and calm. Prepared using extracts of organic oat herb, this remedy is very popular with our customers and can also be used to help you drift off into a natural sleep.

What Are The Most Eczema

We asked our followers on our social media channels which soaps they would recommend. Not all products will suit everyone, but people with eczema have said the following brands/products have worked well for them:

We dont recommend applying olive oil to the skin as it can damage the skin barrier, but olive oil soaps seem to be well-tolerated by many people with eczema who responded to our request for soap recommendations.

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Ways To Reduce Eczema

There are also many options you can take to reduce your eczema symptoms in general. First, visit your dermatologist so that they can properly diagnose you and perform tests to see what type of eczema you have and why you have eczema. There are many different types of eczema, some of which include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis. There are a variety of treatment options for eczema like:

  • OTC Products
  • Bathing
  • Prescription Products Many of these include topical creams with medications like corticosteroids, PDE4 inhibits, hydrocortisone, or topical calcineurin inhibitors to help relieve symptoms. Using hydrocortisone for eczema is a common practice and one that we explore in additional detail in our blog.
  • Light Therapy
  • Systemics
  • Biologics

In addition to treating your eczema treatment, if you are suffering from the other common co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, or auto-immune diseases, you should schedule an appointment with your general doctor as well. They will be able to offer treatments for these conditions that will help not only help them, but eczema symptoms as well. If you have questions on eczema or any other skin conditions, do not hesitate to contact us today!

Try A Relaxing Activity

Eczema Triggers | What Can Cause an Eczema Flare Up?

Explore and seek programs/activities that may be beneficial in coping up with a stress. You may start with meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. Such activities are advised in addition to the other treatments implemented to manage certain stress related eczema conditions. Apart from relieving you from stress, such relaxing activities will help keep the body and mind healthy.

Also Check: Best Body Wash To Use For Eczema

If You Are Uncertain What To Do Or What Level Of Risk Applies You Should Discuss The Matter With Your Doctor Health Care Workers With Extensive Active Eczema Should Seek Professional Guidance On Possible Re

It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment.It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.

Dont Skimp On The Moisturizer

The outer layer of your skin acts as a protective barrier against irritants, bacteria, and allergens. When you have eczema, this area of your skin is often damaged, which leaves you vulnerable to itchy and chronically dry skin. When this occurs, its harder for your skin to retain water and your eczema can grow worse.

Keeping your skin properly moisturized is an essential step in controlling eczema. By moisturizing regularly, you can help protect the outer layer of your skin, which acts as a protective barrier against irritants, bacteria, and allergens.

While its important to moisturize regularly, its essential to use a product that safe to use with eczema. Dr. Hitchins can help you select a moisturizer thats suitable for your form of eczema and provide detailed recommendations on ideal applications — for example, moisturizing within three minutes of bathing to achieve optimal results.

Read Also: Dyshidrotic Eczema And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Stress Habitual Scratching And The Itch

Stress does not cause eczema. However, some people react to stress by habit scratching. It is thought that scratching can make itch worse, which makes you want to scratch more. This is called the itch-scratch cycle and can make eczema worse. Try as much as possible not to scratch the eczema. To help with this, keep fingernails cut short so that any scratching is not so sharp and severe. Consider wearing cotton gloves at night if you tend to scratch in your sleep, and use anti-scratch mittens for babies. If you need to relieve an itch, rub with fingers rather than scratch with nails.

Some people find that relaxation exercises or similar techniques help to reduce stress. This may help to reduce habit scratching, which may help to reduce the severity of eczema.

Reasons Hand Eczema Flares Up

Eczema and Stress: the Connection Between Eczema and ...

Hand eczema flare-ups are beyond annoying. It can cause redness, itching, cracks, blisters, and dryness to the point of peeling and flaking, but thats not all. During a bad flare-up of hand eczema, fingers can swell and hands can hurt. Without proper treatment, hand eczema can become chronic. A severe case could even make it hard to button your clothes or use a computer.

So, what causes flares? Here are five of the most common triggers and tips for avoiding them.

Read Also: Natural Eczema Treatment For Kids

Doctors Tips For Managing Eczema Flare

Wed, Aug 18, 2021

Dealing with eczema can be incredibly difficult and unpredictable. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that makes your skin red, dry, itchy, cracked and sore.

The condition is more common than you might think, affecting an estimated 1 in every 5 children and up to 3% of adults worldwide.

A flare-up occurs when eczema symptoms worsen, says Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi. For some people, theres no apparent reason, but individual triggers may include soaps and detergents, cold and dry weather, allergies, or infections.

Stress Anxiety And Depression

It may be surprising to hear that your mental health plays a significant role in eczema, so you have to take care of yourself on the inside, too.

While emotional stress or anxiety itself wont cause eczema, they can play a significant role in your symptoms and trigger flare-ups. Studies also show that people with eczema have higher rates of anxiety or depression. To effectively manage your eczema symptoms, its essential to share information about your mental and emotional health with your provider because these conditions are often related.

If you have allergies, eczema, or other skin symptoms, our team can help identify your triggers and control your flare-ups. Contact one of our locations in Ogden, Utah, to schedule a consultation today.

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Eczema Treatments And Covid

Some people with eczema take systemic treatments that affect the immune system. Examples of these medications include prednisone, cyclosporine, methotrexate, Imuran , and Cellcept .

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.

Food Allergy And Eczema

What causes my eczema to flare up?

1 in 10 children with atopic eczema have a food allergy which can make symptoms worse. In general, it is young children with severe eczema who may have a food allergy as a trigger factor. The most common foods which cause eczema symptoms in some people include: cow’s milk, eggs, soya, wheat, fish and nuts.

Also Check: Remedios Para Eczema En Bebes

Can Eczema Cause Other Health Problems

Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, red, itchy skin. It usually starts in early childhood. Eczema can affect different areas of the body at other times. Your doctor may refer to this condition as an allergy because some people with eczema develop an allergy to something that touches their skin or triggers eczema symptoms. Some people get an asthma-like allergy called allergic bronchial asthma after having long-term cases of eczema. These allergies together are sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis or atopy.

Managing Eczema And Stress

“One of the biggest barriers in managing stress and eczema is to be able to clearly recognize what the stressor is,” states Dr. Levenberg. “A specific stressor is often challenging to identify or even change, and so a more general approach to stress reduction may be more helpful. Seek interventions that are known to lower stress and increase relaxation, such as modifying lifestyle factors, managing emotions, getting adequate rest/sleep, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise, to name a few. Even one night of sleep loss can increase inflammation.

“It is also essential to have a support group or friends and family for positive social relationships,” says Dr. Levenberg. According to studies, positive social interaction can play just as an important role as diet and exercise when it comes to health. In the current pandemic, it may be harder to achieve social support. However, it is essential to still ensure people stay in touch with their friends and family network in a safe, socially distanced, or virtual manner. Research shows that being socially isolated can increase the risk of inflammation to the same extent as being physically inactive in the adolescent years.


1. Eczema Symptoms & Causes | National Eczema Association. National Eczema Association. Published 2020. Accessed November 9, 2020.

2. Bieber T. Atopic Dermatitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008 358:1483-1494. doi:10.1056/nejmra074081

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Can I Prevent Eczema

Eczema cant be cured, but you can do plenty of things to prevent a flare-up. For facial eczema, wash gently with a nondrying facial cleanser or soap substitute, use a facial moisturizer that says noncomedogenic/oil-free, and apply only hypoallergenic makeup and sunscreens.

In addition, these tips may help:

Focus On Your Physical Health

Can foods trigger an eczema flareup? Naturallypretty ...

Improving your physical health will boost your mental health, too. Caring for your body by getting enough sleep, exercising well, and eating a healthy diet can help relieve stress and anxiety, too. Stress can interfere with your ability to sleep, and a lack of sleep can exacerbate your stress levels. Your body continues to produce higher levels of stress hormones, and then you feel even more irritable, overwhelmed, or even angry.

Make it a priority to try to avoid this vicious cycle by committing to better sleep habits. Start by making a sleep schedule for yourself and sticking to it. Make your bedroom a cool, dark place thats conducive to sleepingand ditch the electronics that might distract you. Practice some relaxation exercises before you go to bed to prepare your mind and your body for resting.

Exercise can help you sleep well, too plus, regular exercise can improve your mood and lower your stress levels. Whatever works for you and your schedule can be beneficial. If you like walking, try to fit a walk into your daily schedule. If you like to ride a bike, put on your helmet and start pedaling.

  • Drink plenty of water before and during exercise
  • Moisturize your skin before you work out
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that dont irritate your skin
  • Exercise in temperature-regulated environments, where it may be cooler
  • Skip the post-workout hot shower and take a lukewarm shower or bath instead

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Recognize The Importance Of A Proper Bathing Routine

When you have eczema, its common to have dry skin. But regular moisturizing isnt the only way to keep your skin properly hydrated regular bathing can also control flare-ups.

Proper bathing routines that help manage eczema include:

  • Bathing or showering daily
  • Using lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes
  • Avoiding hot water and scrubbing
  • Using only small amounts of gentle cleanser
  • Moisturizing each time you come in contact with water, even when washing your hands

Dr. Hitchins can offer recommendations on bath cleansers to leave you clean and fresh without causing skin irritation.

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!

Sarah Hyland

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