Stress Rash: Causes & Tips

The psyche has a direct influence on the skin. Stress can lead to skin rashes, but it can also increase symptoms of neurodermatitis or psoriasis. Learn more about the connection and what can help with stress rash.

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quick overview

Symptoms: Stress can cause skin problems such as pimples, pustules, blisters or redness on various parts of the body or worsen existing skin diseases.

Causes: With prolonged stress, more cortisol is released and the immune system is weakened, which promotes skin problems.

Treatment: First try to reduce stress. Deliberate breaks in everyday life or relaxation exercises can help. If the symptoms do not improve, a visit to the doctor’s office is recommended.

Article content at a glance:

Skin rash: what disease is behind it?

Why does stress cause skin rashes?

Many people know it: During the learning phase before the exams or in stressful phases at work, the condition of the skin often deteriorates and redness, eczema or itchy blisters appear. But what happens in the body?

When stressed, the body is put on alert and releases more adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. For example, the stress hormones increase blood flow to the muscles and raise the heart rate, preparing the body for fight or flight. What increases performance for a short time has a negative effect on the skin in the long run.

A permanently elevated cortisol level

  • weakens the natural barrier function of the skin,
  • promotes sebum production,
  • Reduces the skin’s ability to store moisture
  • has an inflammatory effect.

Chronic stress also weakens the immune system. Combined with a poor diet due to stress, lack of sleep and increased alcohol and nicotine consumption, this can also promote the development of rashes and pimples.

Vicious circle: rash and stress

Stress favors skin rashes, but conversely red spots, stress pimples, dandruff and other complaints can also lead to stress reactions. Because they often go hand in hand with a high level of suffering.

They can affect self-esteem, especially on visible skin areas such as the face: those affected feel unattractive or are afraid of being judged or rejected by other people.

Stress: These are the symptoms it can trigger!

Appearance: This is how stress can manifest a rash

A stress rash can look different and cause different symptoms. For example:

So-called stress eczema is sometimes accompanied by severe itching. The rash often appears on the arms, hands, face, or neck. But it can also occur on other parts of the body.

Stress rash – aggravation of skin diseases

Psychological stress can not only trigger a skin rash, but also increase symptoms of existing skin diseases. This includes:

  • Urticaria (hives): Stress is considered to be the trigger of the so-called stress-induced chronic urticaria. Characteristic are sudden redness, wheals or swellings that itch badly.

  • Neurodermatitis (atopic dermatitis): In the case of psychological stress, people with neurodermatitis tend to flare up more often. Then an itchy rash usually develops, the skin is reddened, can become inflamed, form blisters and weep.

  • Psoriasis: Experts assume that stress also promotes flare-ups of psoriasis. Scaly patches (plaques) form, which are separated from the healthy skin and are very itchy. Typical spots are the elbows, head, knees and back.

  • Acne: Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that occurs primarily during puberty. Pimples and pustules are triggered by hormonal changes. However, stress can increase the risk of acne breakouts.

Stress Rash Treatment: What Helps?

There are several approaches to treating stress rashes. The first thing you should do is try to reduce stress. In addition, the symptoms of the rash such as itching can be relieved. If there is an underlying disease such as neurodermatitis, it should be treated.

counteract stress

The following tips can help to slow down everyday life in stressful phases:

Relieve skin rash with care products and home remedies

Anyone who is prone to pimples, redness and other skin complaints should always look for skin care products without preservatives or fragrances. Special ointments and creams are also available in pharmacies that promote inflammation or wound healing and are suitable for skin rashes. This is where it helps to seek professional advice.

If you prefer to use home remedies, you can also try lukewarm compresses with chamomile tea (in organic quality) or aloe vera. The plants have anti-inflammatory properties. In the case of skin diseases, however, it makes sense to consult a doctor beforehand.

treatment of skin diseases

Medical therapy is advisable for skin diseases such as neurodermatitis. In this case, creams and ointments containing cortisone are usually suitable to relieve stress rashes.

In the case of stress-induced urticaria, the doctor sometimes prescribes antihistamines or cortisone in tablet form. In addition to treatment with medication, light treatments can also have a soothing effect on psoriasis.

Relaxation techniques: 7 ways to reduce stress

Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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