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Can Stress Cause Eczema On Face

Contact Eczema: An Allergy

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The causes

Is the eczema affecting other parts of the body besides the area around the mouth? Do you have a history of atopy? If you answered no to both these questions, it is likely allergic eczema. You may develop a sudden allergy to a product at any point throughout your life, even if you have already handled or used it before, an allergy which manifests as eczema.

Contact with the allergen may be direct, as with an allergic reaction to a cosmetic applied to the face for example, or it can occur indirectly, especially via the hands, which often touch the mouth. For example, you may be allergic to a nail polish or to a product you touched beforehand.

Products or objects commonly known to trigger eczema around the mouth include:

  • lip sticks and lip balms
  • nail polish
  • etc.

Consult a professional

Several weeks can pass from the point of initial contact and the reaction, making it difficult to find the culprit. It is always recommended to consult a doctor, who will help confirm the cause by carrying out allergy tests . They will also be able to tell you what products contain the allergen. If you have an allergic reaction to formaldehyde in a cosmetic, for example, you will need to avoid this product as well as any others that contain formaldehyde.

Misconceptions About The Causes Of Eczema

It would be impossible to write an article about the causes of eczema without including a list of myths about what people erroneously believe causes it. The exact mechanisms that cause people to experience this skin condition went unknown and under-explained for so long, people concocted their own reasons for its appearance â many of which are inaccurate. Here are a few misconceptions about the causes of eczema to consider:

Family History

Eczema has a genetic connection there’s little argument about that anymore. But like most genetic-based conditions, having a family member with eczema does not guarantee you will contract it. The right confluence of genetic factors needs to take place, and a simple relative connection may be insufficient for you to display eczema symptoms.


Everyone knows stress isn’t healthy for you. Everything from sleep deprivation to digestive issues can trace their roots back to an unhealthily stressful environment.

However, stress cannot cause eczema â if you don’t have it, being stressed out won’t cause it to develop.

That said, as I mentioned above in the environmental factors section, stress can trigger and worsen flare-ups in those already dealing with the condition, so it’s best avoided regardless.

Chlorinated Swimming Pools

This one may fall under the “trigger” classification rather than a cause, but some believe swimming in chlorinated pools can cause an eczema outbreak.

Baby Eczema and Adult Eczema

Preventive Measures For Dry Skin

The best way to prevent dry skin is to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.

  • Trap the moisture gained from a lukewarm shower/bath by applying an emollient after pat drying the skin with a towel, leaving the skin still moist.
  • Avoid hot, scalding showers or baths and the use of harsh scented soaps .
  • Avoid scrubbing and exfoliating aggressively as these habits will damage the epidermis.
  • Shorten your shower/bath time to less than 10 minutes.

If your dry skin issues and itching do not improve with over-the-counter moisturizers, please see your dermatologist for additional help.

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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.

Can Anxiety Cause You To Breakout In Hives

Get Rid of Eczema on the Face, Fast, Home Remedies, Neck ...

Not everyone who has anxiety develops a skin rash, as each body reacts to stress and anxiety differently. For someone who breaks out in a rash or hives caused by anxiety, the bodys immune system is physiologically responding to increased levels of anxiety hormones.

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Can Stress Cause Eczema To Develop In Someone Who Does Not Already Suffer From It

Eczema is referred to as apsychodermatologic disorder, which means that although it is a physical condition, it is significantly tied to emotional health too.

With there being such a strong connection between stress and eczema flare-ups, many experts started to question whether stress may actually cause the condition to develop in the first place.

However, further research suggests that this is not the case

Stress does not cause eczema to develop in someone who has never suffered from it before, but it does definitely worsen the symptoms in those who already have the condition.

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:

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Atopic Eczema On The Face Or Neck

Atopic eczema affects these areas of the body most often in infants and adults.

In infants, it is usually the first area affected by eczema. It appears on the convexities, especially the cheeks .

In adults, eczema patches tend to appear on several areas: the hands, the crook of the arms, etc.

This type of eczema is caused by atopy rather than by an allergy. Atopy is a genetic hypersensitivity to the environment and can also manifest as asthma or rhinitis. In people with atopic skin, eczema appears in flare-ups alternating with periods of remission.

Managing Your Stress Levels

Eczema on the face: 11 tips from a dermatologist| Dr Dray

While there are many steps that you can take to soothe your skin during an eczema flare-up, it goes without saying that prevention is better than cure.

This means learning how to manage your stress levels and keep them well under control.

Does this sound impossible?

There are actually quite a few scientifically-proven ways to reduce stress.

Want to know what these are?

The first is exercising, and this needs to be done every single day in order for it to really have an effect.

Dont believe that a little exercise can really make such a big difference?

There are countless studies out there that prove this. In fact, recent studies have even shown that when you work on strengthening your muscles, this causes them to release enzymes that detoxify the body of the substances that stress and inflammation cause.

Exercise also encourages your brain to release endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that boost the mood.

Finally, just the repetitive motion that comes with exercise works in a similar way to meditation, calming the mind.

Even if you do not enjoy exercising, there are plenty of ways to get active that do not involve a sport or going to the gym. Try taking a brisk walk with a friend every evening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or finding a hobby that involves you staying on your feet for a while.

Want to give this a try?

There are so many breathing exercises out there, but one of the most effective is the 4-7-8 method.

Here are the steps to follow:

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What Is The Treatment For Facial Eczema

Moisturizers are the first-line treatment for all eczema. Doctors recommend you apply it twice per day, including after a bath or shower. Increase moisturizer use on your face after wearing a mask most of the day.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you use a moisturizer with one of the following ingredients:

  • Ceramides
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Dimethicone

When moisturizers are ineffective, doctors turn to topical corticosteroid, topical calcineurin inhibitor and topical PDE4 inhibitor medications. Topical calcineurin inhibitors are commonly prescribed to treat facial eczema.

Learn more about eczema medications and treatment options. If you experience a severe flare-up of facial eczema, schedule an appointment with your doctor and/or a specialist such as an allergist or dermatologist.

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The Added Burden Of Comorbidities

The presence of comorbidities also contributes to the stress and eczema exacerbation cycle. Dr. Levenberg states that “some patients with eczema also suffer from co-morbidities, such as anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, or other atopic diseases, like asthma, hay fever or food allergy. These associated conditions create their own stress and underlying chronic inflammation, and can contribute to a patient’s eczema.” In fact, more than 20% of adults with eczema also have asthma, and they have a two to four times increased risk of having allergic rhinitis and food allergy.

In addition to atopic co-morbidities, studies show that over 30% of people with atopic skin disease suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Psychosocial stressors such as the stigma faced when people assume rashes are ‘contagious,’ fear of showing inflamed skin at a hair salon or swimming pool, or the financial strain of disease management, all contribute to the anxiety associated with eczema. Anxiety and depression can be common triggers in some individuals that can cause eczema to flare up, which then creates further stress, leading to more eczema exacerbations.

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When To See A Doctor For Stress Rash Treatment

Most rashes and acne breakouts will clear up after a few days with good skin hygiene and over-the-counter medications.

Treatment is similar for skin breakouts and eczema. Antihistamines and medicated creams and ointments often help clear it up within a few days. If your condition doesnt clear up within that time frame, check with a provider. Many skin conditions can be diagnosed and treated through a virtual or online visit. Definitely check with a provider if:

  • Your skin rash or breakout becomes so uncomfortable you are having trouble sleeping or focusing on daily tasks.
  • You develop a fever, red streaks, pus, skin peeling, blisters or scabs.

Depending on your symptoms, your provider may treat your skin rash or breakout with stronger antihistamines, steroids or antibiotics.

Image above shows what stress rash looks like

Exercise Benefits And Challenges

Tips to Stop Face Eczema

Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help reduce tension, stabilize mood, promote sleep, and improve self-esteem. These benefits help contribute to a reduction in stress.

It’s important to establish a regular exercise routine . Exercise has been shown to lower stress levels, reducing flare-ups for people with skin conditions such as eczema.

Although the heat and sweating generated from a vigorous workout can contribute to eczema flareups, there are methods of managing eczema so that people who have the condition can realize the many benefits of regular workouts.

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Wearing A Face Mask Is Worsening My Facial Eczema What Can I Do To Help Prevent It From Getting Worse

Try these suggestions:

  • Try to wear a face mask made from 100% cotton that is soft on the skin.
  • Ensure your face mask is clean, and wash masks regularly in detergent that does not irritate your skin.
  • Face masks with cloth ear loops are less likely to irritate the skin than elastic ones.
  • Masks that tie around the back of the head or have a headband and button option might help reduce irritation.
  • Avoid applying moisturizer to the face just before putting on a mask, as it might make a face hot and sweaty. Instead, put moisturizer on when you remove your mask, and you have time to let your skin breathe.

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.

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Home Remedies To Treat Eczema

Eczema is a condition that results in inflammation of the skin. The affected area becomes itchy, sore and inflamed. Blistering, cracking and oozing are also common symptoms of eczema. One of the most common skin conditions in children, eczema is often misdiagnosed as an allergic reaction.

Medical professionals have long prescribed steroid creams to treat eczema, yet only 2% of patients with moderate to severe eczema and 8% of patients with mild to moderate eczema report that these creams are moderately or very effective.

Instead, many patients have had success with the following natural remedies:

  • Zinc is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with the itching and inflammation associated with eczema. Take 1 to 3 mg daily in tablet or capsule form.
  • Aloe vera gel has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of skin issues. One common use includes soothing eczema and its symptoms. Aloe vera has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that boost the immune system and help heal wounds.
  • Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient that can heal wounds and fight off infections. With the direct application on eczema-affected areas, honey can help prevent infections while moisturizing the skin and speeding healing.
  • The Anxiety Stress Eczema Cycle

    Eczema: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment | Doctors on TV

    The persistent itch and ongoing sleepless nights caused by eczema is enough to cause anxiety and stress for just about anyone who suffers from the condition. The stress and anxiety can fuel the cycle of eczema flareups, because symptoms commonly cause a person with eczema to have anxiety and stress.

    As symptoms increase, so too do the accompanying emotions of anxiety and stress, causing an unrelenting cycle that can quickly wear down a persons emotional well-being.

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    How Can You Ease Anxiety

    First things first: youâve got to figure out whether your anxiety is, in fact, likely to be exacerbating your eczema. âKeep a diary of your anxiety and eczema and see if they correlate,â Dr. Allen suggests. That way, youâll be able to better keep track of what might trigger your flare-ups.

    If you think your eczema might be related to anxiety, itâs important to tend to both your skincare and your mental health. Make sure youâre paying extra attention to giving your skin the kind of love it needs. âPreventing and treating eczema is all about repairing and protecting the skin barrier,â Dr. Allen says. Keep your skin nice and moisturized, she advises, using unscented products. âConsider a humidifier in your bedroom, drink plenty of water, and consider using less heat and AC as both are drying,â she adds. If the itchy patches are getting worse after a week or two, consider seeing a dermatologist, who can evaluate the type of eczema you might be experiencing and create a treatment plan.


    Managing Eczema And Stress

    “One of the biggest barriers in managing stress and eczema is to be able to clearly recognize what the stressor is,” states Dr. Levenberg. “A specific stressor is often challenging to identify or even change, and so a more general approach to stress reduction may be more helpful. Seek interventions that are known to lower stress and increase relaxation, such as modifying lifestyle factors, managing emotions, getting adequate rest/sleep, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise, to name a few. Even one night of sleep loss can increase inflammation.

    “It is also essential to have a support group or friends and family for positive social relationships,” says Dr. Levenberg. According to studies, positive social interaction can play just as an important role as diet and exercise when it comes to health. In the current pandemic, it may be harder to achieve social support. However, it is essential to still ensure people stay in touch with their friends and family network in a safe, socially distanced, or virtual manner. Research shows that being socially isolated can increase the risk of inflammation to the same extent as being physically inactive in the adolescent years.


    1. Eczema Symptoms & Causes | National Eczema Association. National Eczema Association. . Published 2020. Accessed November 9, 2020.

    2. Bieber T. Atopic Dermatitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008 358:1483-1494. doi:10.1056/nejmra074081

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