I Never Leave Home Without A Tube Of Cream
Since I never know when my appendages might start screaming to be itched I have numerous tubes of hydrocortisone creamed stashed about the house, car and back pack. It would not be uncommon for me to use two to three tubes of the steroid cream a month. So far, I havent experienced any side effects from my excessive use of hydrocortisone cream that I. that I, that I know of. Unfortunately for the manufacturers of hydrocortisone cream a change in my approach to life seems to have substantially reduced my consumption of their product that acts like throwing a wet blanket on the red hot itchy fire on my arms or neck.
Understanding What Causes Stress Rash And How To Treat It
Americans are among the most stressed people in the world, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. While stress may be something we feel emotionally, it can have a significant impact on our physical health. In addition to high blood pressure, headaches and fatigue, skin rashes are common stress symptoms.
What causes stress rash?
Stress rash often affects people who have underlying skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea or allergies caused by environmental triggers, such as pollen, animal dander or certain foods. Some people even develop rashes from sunlight or weather changes. Still, even without an underlying condition, you can still develop stress rash.
When youre feeling stress, your body releases chemicals that can cause inflammation and make your skin even more sensitive, says Erin Lester, MD, a family medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Solana Beach. This can trigger a flare-up.
What do stress rashes look like?
Stress rashes often appear as raised red bumps called hives. They can affect any part of the body, but often a stress rash is on the face, neck, chest or arms. Hives may range from tiny dots to large welts and may form in clusters. They may be itchy or cause a burning or tingling sensation.
Stress rash treatment
Fortunately, most stress-induced rashes go away on their own within a few days however, they can come back. Some may persist for as long as six weeks.
Preventing stress rash
Try these tips to help manage stress:
Stress And Your Immune System
Itchy skin or hives caused by anxiety arent exactly common in the general sense, but anxiety causes a significant amount of stress, and stress can have a detrimental effect on organs and on the bodys immune system. Since the skin is the largest organ on the body, anxiety can lead to a rash, hives, and an overall itchy feeling. Furthermore, when the immune system starts to falter from stress, it starts sending histamine into the body to fight off what is ailing it all the anxiety. So, in the simplest terms, the body forms an allergic reaction to stress. The stress cant be eliminated with histamine, so the histamine causes hives to appear on the body.
You May Like: How So You Know If You Have Anxiety
Treatment For Anxiety Itch
Our skin can often reveal our emotions. When we are nervous, we may break out in a rash or hives. When we feel embarrassed, we might blush. For some people, feeling stressed out or afraid can trigger itching.
If the itching persists, a skin doctor, or dermo, can provide relief for the itching and scratching. Some dermos even specialize in this realm of treating anxiety related skin issues. They are called psychodermatologists. They can work alongside a therapist to assist in treating both disorders.
Some of the skin treatments might include:
- Light therapy sessions
Treatment may take a few months before you notice a change.
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Anxiety Disorder
Applying Menthol To Your Itchy Skin
For centuries menthol has been an essential oil that has a cooling effect that relieves itchiness and pain instantly.
A study of using peppermint oil, which contains menthol to treat itchy skin in pregnant women. Here they divided a group of pregnant ladies into two groups, one given sesame oil with 0.5% of peppermint oil while the second group received a combination of olive and sesame oil. It is found that those who applied the peppermint-infused oil to the itchy part reported a significant reduction in their itchiness compared to those who used the other combination.
How To Deal With Itchy Skin At Night
“If you aren’t suffering from an underlying condition that’s contributing to itchy skin at night, there are a few things you can do to relieve the sensation without actually scratching,” says Dr. Schlessinger.
Using a lotion throughout the day and right before bed, like Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream , can keep your skin from drying out. Meanwhile, a melatonin supplement, like HUM Nutrition Beauty zzZz , can help with keeping your sleep cycle on the rails , he adds.
And avoid taking hot showers, as the heat can actually trigger histamine release and exacerbate itching at night. Keeping your skin as cool as possible at night can also suppress the desire to itch, says Dr. Green.
Lastly, topical steroids, like over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, can be useful in breaking the scratch-itch cycleso can popping an antihistamine, like Benadryl. “Antihistamines block the release of histamine, your body’s natural response to inflammation, thus calming down the itchiness,” says Dr. Husain.
If your itchy skin at night is causing you to lose sleep or last longer than a few weeks, experts recommend checking in with your doctor especially if you notice other unusual symptoms too. “Your physician can rule out any conditions that are contributing to your nocturnal pruritus or refer you to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, to seek treatment,” says Dr. Husain.
Don’t Miss: Do I Have Separation Anxiety
Treatment For Anxiety Disorder
To achieve relief from the core issue, the anxiety, you might benefit from seeking help from an anxiety specialist. These mental health experts are well equipped to help improve your quality of life through better management of the symptoms.
The exact type of psychotherapy used for anxiety will be based on the type of anxiety. CBT is an evidence-based therapy that is very helpful for helping the person change their response to triggers. If trauma is what is setting off the itching, the therapist will use an exposure therapy. This type of treatment helps to reduce the impact of the traumatic event.
Medication for anxiety disorders may involve benzos, which are drugs that can swiftly calm nerves. In some cases, antidepressants are used to treat anxiety as well.
Covering Up Anxiety Rash
Not doing anything about your anxiety will make your rash worse. There are those who prefer to cover up their rash than to admit that they are struggling with a mental illness. People with anxiety will tend to wear long sleeves so that no one can see their rash, only to prevent it from breathing. They may also wash their skin too much which will lead to skin irritation. The anxiety of covering up your rash can actually make it stay with you longer. You need to understand your anxiety and know that a rash will continue to come if you do not control it.
Also Check: Do Anxiety And Depression Go Together
Cognitive Modulation Of Itch And Scratching Behavior
It is well-established that cognition can have profound, bidirectional impacts on itch perception. For example, attentional focus to bodily sensations can heighten itch perception, while distraction reduces itch in humans and mice. Faulty cognition may also increase subjective feelings of itch through the nocebo effect when subjects have the expectation that itch will be severe, they may perceive higher levels of itch. Anxiety and stress have been implicated in the nocebo effect for pain hyperalgesia and may also play a role in nocebo itch. In one study of healthy subjects, both nocebo and placebo effects for itch were strongly correlated with worrying and negative affect .
Can Stress Be Making Your Psoriasis Itch More
Reducing worry, anxiety, and other pressures can minimize the flare-ups that cause discomfort.
For patients, one of the most constant and annoying symptoms of the disease can be itching. In fact, the word psoriasis comes from the ancient Greek word psora, which means itch. The irritation can disrupt sleep and overall quality of life.
The National Psoriais Foundation estimates that 70 percent to 90 percent of those with psoriasis experience persistent irritation of the skin that makes them want to scratch.
The problem is scratching gives only the most temporary relief, and it can make the disease even worse. When scratched, patches of skin tear away and bleed, causing the to spread and plaque lesions to form.
Compared with other inflammatory skin disorders, psoriasis can produce particularly intense itching in the scalp as well as the lower extremities .
Because aggravates itchiness, individuals commonly apply lotions, gels, ointments, and creams to keep the skin moisturized. Topical therapies also include steroids, analogues, retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, coal tar, and salicylic acid.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Anxiety Head Pressure
How To Nix The Itch: For Now And For Good
First and foremost, youll need expert guidance when dealing with skin problems related to your mood, stress, or anxiety both on the physical and psychological levels. Make sure to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and in-depth treatment to up your chances of getting the itch under control.
But that doesnt mean you cant have your own itch-solving strategy. Here are some simple ways you can try to address the itch.
- Remember that the itching sensation might be tied to your heightened anxious or stressed state. Try to calm yourself down with deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or grounding exercises. Resist the urge to scratch.10
- Seek solid support for dealing with stress or anxiety. Learning strategies to deal with these conditions may help resolve itching long-term.11
- Soothe skin with a little more TLC and avoid fragranced laundry detergent, overly hot water, and tight fabrics that might further irritate sore skin.12
Stress And Skin: What A Stress Rash Or Persistent Itching Might Mean
Understanding how your body responds to stress and anxiety could be a good first step to understanding any skin issues that arise from it.
Studies suggest that skin itch might be one of the lesser-known stress and anxiety symptoms.This is because when the body goes into a stressed state, the nervous system goes into overdrive. This may lead to an inexplicable skin itch or a bout of hives. Simply put: Science says that itching could be your nervous systems natural reaction to your body in stress.3
The association between stress or anxiety and your skin can also be somewhat of a chicken-and-egg situation. Its possible that one of the aforementioned health conditions could be causing uncontrollable itching thats stressing you out thus, causing the itch to become even worse since your body is under a lot of stress or in a state of anxiety.4
Don’t Miss: What Is Test Taking Anxiety
Itchy Skin At Night Could Also Be An Underlying Health Issue
Obviously, an underlying skin condition, such as eczema, psoriasis, or hives, can cause excessive itching at night. Ditto for pest infestations, including bed bugs and scabies, which can be worse at night when the mites are more active, says Dr. Hart.
There are also non-dermatological conditions that can cause itchy skin at night, such as restless leg syndrome , diabetes, and thyroid problems, as well as kidney disease and cancer on the more serious side of the spectrum.
“These conditions can trigger a hormonal imbalance, autoimmune response, or sensory response that results in itchy skin at night,” says Dr. Green. In addition to itchy skin at night, you might experience other pesky symptoms including night sweats, constipation, tingly feet, weight gain, dry skin, dizziness, and fatigue.
Whats The Outlook For People With Itching And Anxiety
Untreated, the cycle of anxiety and itching can repeat over and over, ratcheting up your anxiety level. Frequent scratching can also lead to serious skin issues.
Anxiety and itching can be effectively treated, though. It may take some time, but with professional guidance, you can learn to manage anxiety, ultimately resolving the itch.
Also Check: When Does Anxiety Become A Disorder
Cbd And Itching: The Cause Or The Solution
Although some people have experienced itching after taking CBD products, it seems that this side effect only affects a very small percentage of users. In fact, some studies suggest that CBD could offer relief from itching in skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
CBD works in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system . The ECS has cannabinoid receptors all over the body, including the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and all organs. The ECS has been found to regulate many essential biological processes such as immune function.
When you take CBD oil for itching, it interacts with the CB2 cannabinoid receptors that modulate the activity of immune cells. CBD can both improve the communication between these cells ensuring the healthy functioning of the immune system and reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines.
Lower inflammation markers have been associated with an anti-inflammatory response, including a reduction in pain, swelling, redness, and itching.
On top of that, CBD indirectly signals the ECS to release more of its endocannabinoids. It also slows down their breakdown by blocking the enzyme called Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Once released, they also bind to cannabinoid receptors, bolstering the immunomodulatory effects of cannabidiol.
Of the 22 participants, 14 experienced relief from itching, with an average reduction score of 86.4%.
In People With No Skin Conditions
The effects of stress and anxiety on itchiness do not only affect people with existing conditions. Chronic itchiness can also appear due to stress in a person without an underlying condition.
This symptom is most likely to occur in people who are experiencing very high stress situations, have psychological conditions, or are going through a major life event.
A small-scale study in Acta Dermato-Venereologica asked college students about their stress levels and skin symptoms. The results indicated that even without underlying conditions, students with higher self-reported stress levels had more symptoms in their skin, including itchiness.
An anxiety disorder may also cause the sensation of itching. In these cases, the itching is not due to an underlying skin condition or irritant but appears as a symptom of anxiety instead.
Stress causes a number of changes in the body, such as hormonal fluctuations and changes in the nervous system, which could lead to unpleasant sensations along one or more nerves. These sensations can cause a burning or itching feeling anywhere in the skin.
Also Check: How To Know I Have Anxiety