Itchy skin is a common problem. The causes can vary, ranging from allergies, insect bites, or dry skin. However, itchy skin can appear suddenly for no apparent reason. When this happens, you can only wonder what caused it. Did you know that you can get itchy skin from stress or excessive anxiety? Itchy skin is very annoying and disturbing, especially when it turns out the problem is rooted in your own mind.
Find out more about whether stress can cause skin rash and how to get rid of it from the review below.
Can Stress Cause Skin Rash? – Get Rid of Stress Rash
Starting from problems at work, fighting with friends, or household problems, everyone sometimes feels stressed. Stress does not only cause headaches and blood pressure to rise. Some people can also experience itchy and reddened skin when they are under severe stress. Are you one of them?
To be honest with you guys, I am having this stress rash for the last two weeks. Why? I have a lot in my plates right now but the worst thing that worries me the most is the fact that my sister is hospitalized and isolated due to COVID-19 in Indonesia. Today is her 6th day in her isolation room. All I can do is praying for her speedy recovery. I also talk to her through Whatsapp every day. Even though she seems to be doing alright and does not need to use a ventilator, I am still worried. Living a thousand miles away from your sick sibling does not feel good you guys. 🙁
Why does stress make skin rash?
When you are stressed, the brain will react by releasing stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and other chemical compounds as the body’s reaction to defend itself from threats. You will feel your heart rate increase, breathing faster, muscles tighten, and blood pressure surge.
This stress reaction also affects your skin. There are many nerve endings that are connected to the skin so that if the central nervous system in the brain detects a danger due to stress, your skin will also react. Some people can feel itching when under stress because the brain also triggers excessive sweat production. If you are in a hot, humid environment, or the air circulation is not smooth, sweat will be trapped in the layers of the skin and cannot evaporate. This then makes the skin so itchy typical prickly heat.
In addition, stress makes your skin itchy because your body produces hormones that can trigger skin diseases that you have already suffered and possibly make it worse. Some people who have psoriasis, eczema, hives, are prone to relapse symptoms when under stress.
Also read: 5 UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS TRIGGERED BY STRESS
Get to know neurodermatitis
If you do tend to experience skin rash especially when you are stressed out, this might be a sign of neurodermatitis.
Neurodermatitis is an itchy and reddened skin condition that is triggered by stress and can appear on any part of the body. The itching that appears can be very strong so you have to keep scratching to reduce the itching.
In addition, neurodermatitis is often associated with other skin conditions, such as dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis. Women aged 30-50 years experience neurodermatitis more often than men.
This is exactly what happens to me. I have skin rash all over my body from my arms, neck, body, legs, etc.
Signs and symptoms of neurodermatitis
- Itching only in certain areas (arms, face, head, shoulders, stomach, back thighs, wrists, groin, buttocks)
- Rough or scaly skin texture on the area of skin that feels itchy
- The surface of the skin is rough, uneven, red or darker than your other skin
Itching due to neurodermatitis can arise and sink. Some people feel the itchiest when they are relaxing or during sleep. When you can handle the stress and move on, the itching disappears. Even when the stress has subsided though, some people can develop the habit of scratching unconsciously even though it doesn’t itch. This is referred to as psychogenic itching.
Different types of skin problems
Itching due to stress can appear with different symptoms in each person. Here are the various types of skin problems that you might experience when you are stressed.
Hives — the raised, puffy welts on your skin that can spread when scratched — usually occur as a result of your immune system’s reaction to allergens (allergens). Because your skin is the outermost defense mechanism of the body, that’s where the immune system will stimulate the production of white blood cells. White blood cells will then fight bacteria, viruses, or allergens so that hives appear. When you are stressed, the brain sends signals to the immune system that there are threats to be dealt with. So, your white blood cells will immediately react to repel the threat. If you are prone to experiencing hives, stress will further trigger the condition.
How long do stress hives last? Stress hives should be gone by 24 hours, however, it won’t diminish the possibility for new welts to be formed if the casual factor is still in play.
Stress hives treatment at home
Treatment of stress hives at home can be done in the following ways:
- Compress cold water to the affected area.
- Take a bath with uncooked oatmeal.
- Apply aloe vera gel.
- Use soap for sensitive skin such as baby soap or detergent-free soap. I use Aveeno stress relief body wash.
- For the time being, avoid direct activities in the sun. Stay and rest in a cool room. I also recommend that you wear clothing that is loose and soft.
2. Prickly heat
Stress is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive sweating. However, if you are in a hot, humid environment, or the air circulation is not good, sweat will actually be trapped in the layers of the skin and cannot evaporate. This will then cause prickly heat on the skin that feels itchy. Prickly heat is not dangerous, but until it is completely gone from the surface of the skin you usually need at least two weeks.
3. Skin diseases
You who have certain skin diseases should be more careful of psychological pressure. Because, stress can trigger the recurrence of certain skin diseases such as eczema, herpes, and psoriasis. These diseases can cause intense itching. This is because when you are stressed, your body will produce hormones that can trigger your skin disease.
4. Psychogenic itch
This type of itch is quite unique because this condition is triggered by suggestions from your own mind. This condition is rarely encountered. However, if you have certain psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), even a little stress can trigger a desire to scratch itchy skin. Usually, psychogenic itching will only appear on easily accessible limbs such as the arms, face, shoulders, stomach, or back of the thighs.
Relieving stress rash
The best way to deal with itching due to stress is to find and deal with sources of stress. When stress is reduced, the itching that you feel will gradually disappear. So, it is important for you to take time for yourself to get rid of stress. You can relax with essential oils, exercise, listen to music, or take a vacation.
You can also relieve itchy skin with natural ingredients such as aloe vera or cold compresses. Avoid bathing with hot water because it can make the skin become more dry and itchy.
If the itching that you feel is already too bothersome and unbearable, you can buy an itch-free remedy in the form of ointments, creams, or pills. I recommend that you consult with your doctor before taking any itch relievers.
What works for me is that I am taking allergy relief pills containing Diphenhydramine HCl and antihistamine.
Also read: 10 BEST WAYS TO RELIEVE STRESS
- Do not scratch the itchy skin area. The more you scratch, the itchier. Keep fingernails short and apply cold ointment to reduce itching.
- Use a moisturizer to keep the skin from drying out, which can worsen the itching
- Steroid creams can help soothe inflammation and itching. In more severe cases, it is necessary to consult a doctor to get a higher steroid dose (only by prescription).
When should you see a doctor?
You need to see a doctor if:
- You find yourself scratching the same part of the skin repeatedly.
- Itching interferes with your sleep or daily activities.
- Your skin becomes irritated or there are more visible signs of infection.
Also read: BEST Vitamins and Supplements for STRESS
When you are under stress, your body will react. Stress stimulates chemical reactions in the body that make your skin more sensitive. In addition, there are many of your nerve endings that are connected to the skin so that if your central nervous system reads a disturbance due to stress, your skin will also react.
Getting rid of stress rash can be done by doing treatments with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, you can also try moisturizers or steroid creams. If those treatments can’t help, you probably should see a doctor.
Hope this article is useful for you. If you have an experience on how to get rid of a stress rash, please share it in the comment section down below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy.
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