Does Stress Cause Hives
Yes, and hives are one of the most prevalent stress reactions.
These puffy, raised welts can vary significantly in size, shape, and itchiness. Those with hives usually only experience them for less than 24 hours and go away on their own. You can use over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce itchiness, puffiness, and the overall discomfort of an outbreak.
Hives also trigger due to reactions to a specific medication, food, and other allergens, so its recommended to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
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.
Examples Of Stress Related Skin Problems
Its very difficult to determine the exact cause of itchiness from anxiety without a full examination, because it could be caused by a variety of different factors. But, the most common causes include:
- Stress hives. As previously mentioned, hives are itchy bumps on the body that can be triggered by stress. Anxiety causes a considerable amount of stress on the immune system, so those prone to hives are likely to get them.
- Sweat rash. Anxiety also causes sweating, and sweating can lead to a sweat rash, otherwise known as a heat rash. This type of rash is non-threatening, but can be extremely itchy and may take as long as two weeks or more to disappear.
- Specific triggered itch. Although less common, anxiety also triggers skin conditions that a person already has. Anxiety is known to trigger eczema, herpes, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. None of these is life threatening or dangerous if triggered.
- Worse or heightened sense of itch. Itching and rashes are fairly common experiences in life, even when nothing is the matter. However, if one suffers from anxiety, physical sensations can often feel worse than they would if he/she didnt suffer from anxiety. Thus, its possible that a very light rash that could otherwise be ignored feels much worse, and causes the person to focus on it more.
- Unexplained. Its also possible to experience an itch for reasons that simply cant be explained.
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Knowing What A Stress Rash Looks Like
If its your first time experiencing stress rashes its important to identify how they look. Youll find that stress rashes can occur anywhere on your body and tend to manifest in the form of hives that may be itchy or swollen.
In some cases, stress rashes may not itch at all and will simply appear to be risen and irritated.
Symptoms Of Stress Rash
Stress rash usually manifests as urticaria, also called scars or wind masses, and is usually:
- Itching: The rash may be itchy, or it may burn or sting.
- Red/Blob: The color of the welt may also be different.
- Swelling/edema: The skin will swell locally, with obvious shapes and edges. Swelling may also occur under the skin and is called angioedema.
They can appear on any part of the body. Although they may initially be tiny red bumps like a typical rash, pressure rashes usually turn into larger scars or plaques, which get worse after scratching them.
A single urticaria can be as big as a dinner plate, but smaller urticaria can also be combined to make them appear to cover most of the body.
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When You Have Flare
Make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist, allergist, or primary care doctor. Most people who have hives are otherwise healthy, but its still helpful to see a doctor.A thorough medical exam can help rule out possible causes, such as an infection or medication, which could be causing your hives.Its also possible for a disease, such as a thyroid condition, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes to cause hives. If signs indicate that this may be the cause, medical testing can find or rule out these causes.While medications and medical conditions can cause hives, there are many other causes, including foods, insect bites, and pressure on the skin. Sometimes, its not possible to find the cause. If that happens, your dermatologist can still recommend lifestyle changes and prescribe medication that can help reduce your flare-ups.
Take photos of your hives. When your see your dermatologist, you may not have hives. Taking pictures can help your dermatologist make sure you have hives. Other skin conditions can look like hives.
Relieve the itch at home. Itch is common in people who have chronic hives. Here are some ways to get temporary relief:
Find An Eczema Support Group
Even though eczema is a common disease affecting more than 31 million Americans, many people say they are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. Oftentimes, they report covering up their skin and thus go through life not knowing if the person standing in line next to them also has eczema. Its human nature to want to talk with others who have the same problem and know what youre going through. The National Eczema Association can help. Connect with us on and to discuss the latest news and research with others in the eczema community. Join Eczema Wise, an online support group where people living with or affected by eczema can post discussion topics, exchange ideas and make new friends.
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How To Reduce Your Anxiety Rash
The most important thing for you to do is to begin using anxiety reduction techniques to try to control your anxiety. Whether or not your rash is anxiety related, it helps to decrease your anxiety symptoms for a better quality of life. Often rashes themselves create excess anxiety and stress, and this will often make the rash worse.
Some strategies to consider include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
You can read about all of the different anxiety treatments on our anxiety guide.
Control your anxiety, and if anxiety is the cause the rash will eventually go away.
Rashes do not go away automatically, however. They may take a few days to even a week. If the rash is not too disruptive, you may simply need to wait it out. Rashes can come and go for no reason at all, and even after you reduce your anxiety it’s possible for the rash to last for a short time while your skin starts to relax.
Otherwise, general rash treatments tend to be effective, such as allergy pills like Benadryl and rash reducing medications, such as hydrocortisone cream. Talk to your doctor if you would like a specific treatment, especially if you suspect that the rash is caused by something other than anxiety.
Make sure you’re not making your rash worse by continuing to experience stress, scratching the bumps, or wearing clothes/using creams that can cause irritation.
Why Would Anxiety Cause A Rash
It’s not the anxiety itself that causes a rash, but the stress caused by anxiety.
Stress puts your body in a state of extreme tension and releases a great deal of cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream – both of which are known to lead to skin reactions.
Stress also makes your skin more sensitive, so things that would not typically cause you to have a skin reaction might create one on your skin.
For reasons that are still not entirely clear, stress also causes skin conditions to get worse. If you have:
Outbreaks of all of these problems are often triggered or made worse by stress. Stress doesn’t create these conditions, but it prevents them from remaining dormant or less active.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Stress Hives
The first step in managing stress-related hives is taking steps to help manage stress, so stress isnt triggering the reaction in the first place.
Managing stress is easier said than done, of course. While there is not much data on stress-relieving activities that might specifically help hives, there is evidence that things like yoga, meditation, and exercise can help people with psoriasis, and theres evidence those stress-relieving activities can help with eczema, too.
And if those activities can help those skin conditions, its safe to assume they may also help with hives, too, Friedman says.
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Some people benefit from avoiding wool, irritating chemicals and fragrances, and harsh soaps, and by using emollients to hydrate the skin.
If stress is contributing to hives for you, then controlling stress can help. Not only does managing stress lessen the frequency or severity of hives, youll reap all the other physical, mental, and emotional benefits of coping well with the stress you face, Elmariah says.
How To Treat A Stress Rash
The brain has powerful effects on the body, and prolonged stress, anxiety, and other factors can manifest in an unpleasant stress reaction. Add to that preexisting skin conditions, and you have the recipe for a potentially severe and uncomfortable skin flare-up.
Everyone is different, so the impact, level of irritation, and treatment routines can vary depending on life and personal circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has put the entire world on edge. Some of that stress is undoubtedly making its way into your daily life in some unpleasant ways.
While stress-related skin disorders may seem severe, there are multiple ways to deal with them. Let’s learn more about stress rashes, then see which is the best treatment for them.
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What Can I Do To Reduce Stress And Manage My Emotions
There are several ways you can reduce or manage the stress that triggers asthma:10,15
- Identify the things that cause you stress, such as money or relationships, and try to find people who can help with these areas
- Avoid situations that cause you stress and that trigger stress-induced asthma symptoms
- Try relaxation and breathing techniques
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Anxiety Can Cause Or Make Skin Problems Worse
The itchiness can be related to skin problems that anxiety makes worse, or caused by anxiety directly. People can even experience stress urticaria, or stress hives, that develop due to chronic stress, anxiety or tension, and appear as red, raised and swollen areas on the skin that appear suddenly. These stress hives can cause itching, and some people report having a burning or stinging sensation whenever they appear. Stress hives can appear on any part of the body face, hands, feet, arms, etc., and can vary in size from as small as a pencil eraser to as large as a dinner plate. Stress hives have been known to spread from place to place on the body, and smaller areas of hives can blend together to form larger areas. Urticaria can be acute, meaning that hives last less than six weeks, and also chronic, which is when hives last longer than six weeks.
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Rash On Arms And Hands
A rash is a change of the human skin which affects its color, appearance, or texture, A rash may be localized in one part of the body, or affect all the skin. Rashes may cause the skin to change color, itch, become warm, bumpy, chapped, dry, cracked or blistered, swell, and may be painful.The causes, and therefore treatments for rashes, vary widely.
Stress And Skin: Can Stress Cause Itching And Other Skin Problems
Can stress cause skin issues like itching? Whether youve felt a mild tingling on the skin or scalp during a particularly stressful moment, or broken out into full-blown hives from anxiety, its easy to feel like there could be a correlation between the two.
Read on to learn more about the fascinating relationship between stress and skin, how your emotions and mental state might impact skin problems.
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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.
Why Does The Body React To Stress This Way
When you’re stressed, your body’s cortisol levels begin to increase, leading to increased oil production that can cause acne breakouts, and revving up your body’s histamine response, or a release of inflammatory chemicals that often make you feel uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, how that histamine response results in a rash or flare-up of your other skin conditions is still unclear. “We don’t know how or why the skin responds to your stress hormones, but it’s not a direct relationship,” says Dr. Nazarian. “We may not know exactly why the trigger happens, but we know how to fix it.”
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What To Do When Stress Gives You Hives
Most people associate hives the raised, puffy welts on your skin that spread when scratched with an allergic reaction, but there are a number of factors that can cause them. One of these factors is stress, and if you find yourself breaking out in hives without another likely cause, its possible that stress is to blame. We spoke to Mary Stevenson, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone, to learn more about what causes stress hives, and what to do and what not to do if you have them.
What do stress hives look like?Stress hives can look a little like bug bites: both are red, puffy, and itchy, and may appear initially as individual bumps, says Stevenson. However, hives are more often irregular in shape and can join together in larger patches, especially if you scratch them. A bad case of hives may appear as a single large patch of puffy, raised skin.
Why do I have hives?If youre noticing hives or a rashlike reaction, its wise to do a survey of your last few days to look for possible causes before deciding stress is to blame, says Stevenson. Maybe you changed your laundry detergent that week, or you ate all these new foods or started a new medication, she says. Unlike stress, many of these are factors that can be easily eliminated.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hives
The hallmark red raised welts are the main sign of hives. The welts can:
- have a pale center
- change shape and location in a matter of hours
- be tiny or as big as a dinner plate
- itch, sting, or cause a burning sensation
Someone who also has angioedema might have puffiness, blotchy redness, swelling, or large bumps around the eyes, lips, hands, feet, genitals, or throat. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, or belly pain.
Rarely, a person with hives and angioedema can also get anaphylactic shock. Signs of anaphylactic shock include breathing trouble, a drop in blood pressure, dizziness, or a loss of consciousness .
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How Common Is Stress
Among people who had serious psychological distress in the past year, the risk of asthma is 50 percent to 70 percent higher than people without distress. Among people diagnosed with depression in the past year, the risk of asthma is also about 70 percent higher. The highest levels of stress are seen in inner-city residents, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans/blacks. Asthma rates in these groups are disproportionately high.9,13,14
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Can Anxiety Cause Hives Rashes Or Itchiness
If youre a regular reader of this blog, by now youve gathered that anxiety is more than just a psychological issue and can manifest itself in a myriad of different ways. One unusual physical symptom sometimes attached to anxiety is the way fear can cause you to itch or break out with a rash or hives.
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Can Stress Or Anxiety Cause Itching
January 8, 2015 by Jenny
Hi. Its Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Daniel in Seattle. Can stress or anxiety cause itching?
Itchy skin or pruritus is an inflammatory reaction of the skin and can affect the entire body depending on its cause. Being itchy can indicate mild or severe conditions such as severe allergic reactions or infection. Its the bodys defense mechanism that alerts your body to something which is harmful to it.Can stress or anxiety cause itching? Yes. A common cause of itching is psychological brought on by stress or other emotional problems. The skin is the largest organ on your body and anxiety attacks this organ with an irritating itch. Not only that, but stress can aggravate other skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.
Stress also causes the body to produce hormones such as cortisol which cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil making the skin more prone to problems. Stress hormones also stimulate the production of a blood protein which causes allergic reactions.
Having itchy skin which is red and inflamed causes emotional disturbances like social withdrawal and embarrassment. Some people even resort to staying off from work and they keep to themselves. This just adds more stress and a fresh outbreak of itchy skin.
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