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Eczema Flare Up Due To Stress

Reasons Hand Eczema Flares Up

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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.

Find Support To Help You Deal With Stress

Emotional stress can trigger eczema symptoms, and a recent clinical study found that people with eczema have an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. If your eczema is affecting you, talk to a doctor. Treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy can help manage your response to stress and reduce the impact living with eczema has on your mental health, explains Dr McClymont.

Medications And Prescribed Treatment

A variety of over-the-counter medications, like oral antihistamines and anti-itch cream can help manage the symptoms of a flare-up.

Symptoms of burning or inflammation can also be managed with acetaminophen , or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen .

In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid , or corticosteroid creams or ointments.

Topical steroids or topical corticosteroids are some of the most commonly prescribed treatments for eczema, as they can reduce inflammation and itching and allow the skin to repair and heal.

These creams vary by strength and should only be used on the affected area.

There is evidence that immunosuppressant drugs may also help manage eczema, which often occurs as a result of immune system overload.

Oral prescription options include azathioprine, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and mycophenolate mofetil.

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What Types Of Eczema Are Linked To Stress

There are many types of eczema, the most common being atopic dermatitis. Atopic eczema runs in families and is linked with likelihood of developing asthma, hay fever and eczema. Other types include:

  • contact dermatitis, which develops when allergens or irritants touch the skin
  • nummular eczema , which forms round or oval patches
  • pompholyx eczema , which starts with a burning sensation followed by a sudden dermatitis blister rash on hands and feet.

There are other forms, and we can also refer to eczema by the part of the body it affects . Regardless of the type, stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms – you could see stress-related eczema on hands, for example. Stress is especially associated with triggering flare-ups of atopic, nummular and pompholyx eczema.

What Is Eczema And Why Might It Occur

Eczema Flare Up Stress

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common allergic skin condition that usually starts in early childhood. The main symptom is itchy, dry skin.

If a person scratches the affected areas, their skin can become chafed and thickened, and red to purple discoloration may occur.

Half of all people with moderate to severe eczema also have hay fever, asthma, and food allergies.

Experts have linked eczema to a leaky skin barrier, which allows water to escape and dry the skin. A person can inherit leaky skin or develop it due to their environment.

A protein called filaggrin is essential to the skins barrier. If someone lacks this protein or if it is faulty, it can cause moderate to severe eczema.

A person may also develop eczema due to contact with bacteria, pollen, detergents, soaps, and animal dander.

While stress can also trigger eczema, there are differences between stress-related eczema and a typical stress rash.

A stress rash usually appears in the form of itchy, rounded welts, or hives. Hives can appear anywhere on the body and vary in size. While they often disappear within 24 hours, a bout of hives can last up to 6 weeks.

Anxiety disorder may trigger flare-ups of eczema. It can be difficult for a person with anxiety to manage the condition without medication.

Having anxiety may produce physical symptoms, including eczema.

If a person has a family history of anxiety or depression, they may need to address these issues first before managing their eczema.

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What Is An Eczema Flare

Eczema is the medical term for certain skin conditions in people with dry, sensitive skin that tends to get very itchy and develop rashes. Eczema usually comes and goes. When it becomes active, it’s called a flare-up.

A flare often occurs in response to a trigger, which may be an allergy, irritant, emotional state, or environmental condition. The itching can be very intense, making it hard not to scratch, but scratching makes it worse. The itch-scratch cycle can lead to skin damage or infection and make you miserable.

Psychological Stress And Epidermal Barrier Dysfunction

Studies investigating the effects of psychological stress on barrier function demonstrate a disruption in the balance between production and sloughing of corneocytes with stress . Short-term GC administration impaired stratum corneum integrity and cohesion in human subjects. The rate of barrier disruption with tape stripping was increased in students stressed while studying for examinations, but improved when the students were unstressed . This outcome was reproduced in mouse experiments, and was associated with impaired epidermal lipid synthesis in the mice and in cultured human keratinocytes . Mice subjected to 72 h of psychological stress had a more severe cutaneous infection following subcutaneous group A Streptococcus pyogenes inoculation compared with unstressed controls . There was an accompanied increased production of endogenous GCs, which inhibited epidermal lipid synthesis and decreased lamellar body secretion. Pharmacologic blockade of the stress hormone CRF or of peripheral GC action, as well as topical administration of physiologic lipids, normalized epidermal antimicrobial peptides and decreased GAS infection severity. The CRF1 antagonist, antalarmin, as well as RU-486, and adernalectomy enhanced the other low constituitive expression of antimicrobial peptides in these animals . In sum, these findings reveal an association with psychological stress, stress hormones and skin barrier dysfunction, with increased susceptibility to skin infection.

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Topical Steroids For Eczema

Topical steroids work by activating the natural substances found in the skin which help reduce swelling, inflammation and itching. They are used when you are actively having an eczema flare up. For stress related eczema on hands, you may need a stronger steroid than a flare up anywhere else on the body as the skin on the palm of your hands is a lot thicker than elsewhere on your body. They should only be used for short treatment bursts of two weeks in order to stop the flare up.

Eczema flare-ups are unpredictable. Whilst eczema can be linked to stress, you have the power to take charge of your mental state. There are many different resources available online in order to help you practice mindfulness stress reduction in order to help your headspace and in turn reducing the risk of stress induced eczema. There are lots of different eczema cream and eczema treatment available in order to soothe any itchiness or soreness.

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What Is Discoid Eczema

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Discoid eczema is a type of eczema characterised by the shape of its lesions, i.e. the circular itchy, dry patches it leaves on the skin. Its also known as nummulareczema or nummulardermatitis, which refers to nummus, the Latin word for coin, because the patches are round and coin-shaped.

This type of eczema tends to affect slightly more older men than women or children, but anyone can get it. It can look a bit like other skin conditions which need different treatment, so its important to get a diagnosis if a flare persists.

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Emotions And Childhood Eczema

Eczema has an impact on the emotional health of children, as well as on their parents and family members. Physically, any eczema breakout can result in extreme discomfort and can sometimes be very painful.

Those with moderate to severe eczema report that the disease dramatically disturbs sleep, activities . Common emotional symptoms of eczema in children, caregivers, and family members include:

  • Psychosocial stress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Discrimination

The overall emotional impact of eczema can be a lifetime of challenges in maintaining a sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

Eczema is known to cause several emotional symptoms, including:

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Loss of sleep
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression

Overall, eczema is said to be emotionally draining, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

According to a survey by the National Eczema Association, over 30% of those with atopic dermatitis were diagnosed with either depression, anxiety, or both conditions. The reason for this phenomenon is not fully understood, but medical experts believe there could be a link between the way the body communicates with the brain during an inflammatory response.

What Causes Eczema To Flare Up

6 mins

Radhika Bhatia

Do you wonder what causes eczema to flare up sometimes? Well, it is even hard to narrow down the root cause of this skin disease. However, there are many possible triggers that can lead to a flare-up.

This skin disease is often accompanied by persistent itchiness, redness, inflammation, and dryness. In most cases, this frustrating skin condition can be treated with the help of over-the-counter ointments.

For treating severe cases of eczema, however, it is important to limit the exposure to the potential triggers. In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about these triggers.

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Practice Good Bath And Shower Etiquette

Take warm baths or showers and keep them short. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups. Use unscented bath products, and not too much of them. When youre done, use a soft towel to pat yourself dry. Dont rub. Slather moisturizer on your skin immediately after a shower, while your skin is still damp, to help your skin best absorb the moisture and lock it on.

How Stress May Trigger Eczema

[Skin concerns] They say its an eczema awareness day, so shoutout to ...

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.

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Support Groups For Eczema

Participating in a support group where one can share their frustrations, exchange tips for coping with eczema and offer encouragement to others, going through similar challenges, can help.

The National Eczema Association offers an online community of people with eczema who are there to share their experiences and offer hope. You can connect with the group on Facebook and Twitter and learn about the latest research and news pertaining to new developments in eczema treatment.

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.

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What Does The Research Say

Eczema can have several root causes. In some people, eczema stems from a genetic mutation that affects your bodys ability to make a skin protein called filaggrin. Without enough of this protein, your skin can get dry easily. This makes you more susceptible to skin irritation and outbreaks. You can also get eczema from allergic reactions.

Outbreaks of eczema, as is the case with other skin conditions, can be triggered by stress. Stress causes a spike in the hormone cortisol . When your body produces high amounts of cortisol because of stress, your skin can become abnormally oily. This can then trigger an eczema outbreak. One study also suggests that stress makes it harder for your skin to recover from irritation and skin damage. Not only does stress cause eczema, it can make eczema outbreaks last longer and make you feel more stressed as a result. This can lead to a seemingly endless cycle.

Another study showed that stress during pregnancy can cause infants to be at risk for eczema outbreaks. This study looked at the pregnancies of nearly 900 mothers and their children and found that women with higher levels of anxiety during their pregnancies increased their childrens chances of having eczema when they were between 6 and 8 months old.

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

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Mental conditions such as stress and anxiety cause the release of stress hormones that usually lead to physical symptoms. These symptoms include constricted blood vessels, faster breathing and a quicker heart rate.

Deep breathing exercises are done by focusing on taking slow, deep breaths through our nose, causing our lungs to fully expand. There are a few different techniques but all have the same end goal, that is to make us feel calm and peaceful by lowering our heart rate.

You can find more information on deep breathing techniques here.

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What Is Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. In fact, of the nearly 31 million cases of eczema in the U.S., 18 million adults and 10 million children have atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis involves dry, inflamed, itchy skin that often becomes infected. It is caused by an immune system malfunction, combined with problems with the skin barrier .

The scaly, reddened rash can appear anywhere on the body, but most often appears on the face, hands, elbows and knees. In those who are dark-skinned, eczema can affect the skins pigmentation, turning the skin a lighter or darker shade.

Eczema is most often triggered by contact with chemicals . It can also be triggered by food allergies , stress, or even the weather.

How To Practice Tai Chi

We can practice tai chi easily as it requires no special gear or equipment and can be done individually at home or as a group.

Tai chi exercises can readily be accessed from books or online videos. However, it is best we find a recommended and qualified instructor. Our instructor will advise us on the special breathing techniques as well as the different styles of tai chi.

A certain style of tai chi may be more suitable for us depending on our age and health condition, as certain movements and postures may be detrimental to our health. Therefore, people suffering from joint problems, back pain and women who are pregnant need to be careful to choose the correct style of tai chi.

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Does Stress Cause Eczema How To Break The Cycle

Does stress cause eczema? If youre amongst the 35 million people in America suffering from eczema, you probably know thateczema is triggered by a variety of environmental and genetic factors, including weather conditions, irritants found in skincare products, and other allergens. But did you know that youre more likely to feel itchy when youre under pressure?

Its true – eczema and stress are related. In fact, stress exacerbates eczema symptoms. While some external factors are unavoidable, the good news is that there are some simple techniques you can employ to lower your stress level. In this post, we answer the question, ‘does stress cause eczema’ in more detail. Keep reading for helpful tips on how to control your stress so that, in turn, you can control your eczema.

Please keep in mind that although these what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If youre experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

Find An Eczema Support Group

Causes of flare

Even though eczema is a common disease affecting more than 31 million Americans, many people say they are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. Oftentimes, they report covering up their skin and thus go through life not knowing if the person standing in line next to them also has eczema. Its human nature to want to talk with others who have the same problem and know what youre going through. The National Eczema Association can help. Connect with us on and to discuss the latest news and research with others in the eczema community. Join Eczema Wise, an online support group where people living with or affected by eczema can post discussion topics, exchange ideas and make new friends.

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