We all know the damaging effects of stress. When stressed out, the brain triggers the body’s fight or flight response. Adrenaline and cortisol – two stress hormones – will course through the veins. These hormones will heighten alertness, raise heart rate and tense the muscles. All these, in anticipation, to fight or flee from a certain aggressor. This would’ve been useful we’re still in Stone Age. Adrenaline and cortisol are quite beneficial. They help keep us out of danger. But too much of it could cause mental strain.
And when we’re stressed out, it’s likely to manifest physically. Some people actually break out in hives when they’re stressed out. This triggers a skin problem called eczema
Signs and Causes of Stress Induced Rashes
Eczema is a non-contagious skin disorder. It’s a general term for various rash-like skin outbreaks triggered by anything from allergies to stress. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Although there is no known cause, this condition usually runs in the family. Also, eczema becomes worse when you’re stressed out. Signs of stress-induced eczema includes itchy, red rashes. No matter how itchy the rash gets, do not scratch it. Wounds from eczema could quickly progress to a full blown infection.
Do note that stress is not the direct cause of this condition. But it could trigger an outbreak or worsen a flare-up. The link between stress and eczema is a compromised immune system. When you’re stressed out, the immune system becomes weak. This makes you vulnerable to various diseases.
Stress-induced rashes are common during the winter season. People who live in a cold climate are vulnerable to this disorder. When the air is cold and humidity’s low, the skin starts drying out. It becomes stressed out. Then, rash gradually develops. Usually, the cases of stress-induced rashes spike up during the holiday season. That’s because any major event causes a lot of emotional stress. When you’re emotions are high, you increase the risk of an outbreak.
Treating Stress-Induced Rashes
There are many ways to treat stress-induced rashes. It starts by eliminating sources of stress. You want to change your lifestyle and be ready in case of an outbreak. Learn how to manage stress. You can work out or enroll in a yoga class. You can also meditate or get a massage. All these minimize stress and anxiety.
Keep Away From Irritants
At home, check your personal hygiene products. Dispose of any that will irritate the skin. Keep yourself hydrated all the time. You can do this by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day and slathering lotion. In the case of an outbreak, minimize your exposure to moisture. You want the rashes to be dry, not sweaty.
Scratching the rash will make it itchier. It will also trigger the rash to spread to other parts of the body. Instead of scratching, apply a cold compress instead. You can also take warm oatmeal baths to soothe irritated, inflamed skin.
Over The Counter Ointments
To ease inflammation and minimize itchiness, apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream several times per day or according to your doctor’s order. For severe cases of eczema, consult your doctor.