Is Stress Over Coronavirus Manifesting On Your Skin Here Are Six Ways To Feel Some Relief
Stress isnt necessarily the root cause of chronic skin conditions. But since the 1980s, says Jefferson Health dermatologist Dr. Matthew S. Keller, evidence has suggested that it can contribute to temporary hives, rashes and itchy skin in those who dont normally suffer from them and exacerbate cases in those who do.
When people are under physical or emotional stress, they tend to take that out on their skin somewhat, says Dr. Keller, who specializes in the treatment of psoriasis. They tend to pick and scratch more with anxiety, which can aggravate and spread rashes, hives and itchiness.
Dr. Keller offers some tips on how to keep stress-related hives and rashes at bay.
Get Your Exercise
Dr. Keller has recently seen, via telehealth, a greater proportion of patients with significant skin flare-ups of psoriasis, eczema, hives and itchiness than is normal for this time of year.
Its hard to say scientifically that this is attributable to the coronavirus, he notes, but anecdotally, a number of patients dermatologic conditions have become a lot worse. The coronavirus has had an impact on our stress levels and our ability to go out and do things we normally do. People arent taking walks, sitting in parks, golfing, or going to the beach as much. Less fresh air, sunshine and exercise have an impact.
Take an Antihistamine
Try a Soak and Smear
Natural Remedies For Treating Hives Skin Rashes
In addition to taking medications, a person can treat their hives or skin rashes with home remedies. One key thing to remember is that you dont want to further irritate your skin. The goal is to calm inflammation. The website Top10HomeRemedies.com recommends natural things you can do to ease hives.
It recommends using a cold compress to block the body from producing and releasing more histamine. It is effective to use a cold compress as soon as you realize that a hive outbreak is happening.
- Baking soda is also recommended to ease inflammation and itching.
- Apple cider vinegar is said to relieve inflammation and help regulate the bodys immune system response.
- Oatmeal can relieve both the itching and inflammation and help the skin heal.
- Gingers anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for easing inflammation and relieving swelling and itching.
- Aloe vera can also be applied to the affected area of the skin for 15 or so minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. This aids in healing the skin and helps speed up recovery time. You can also drink aloe vera juice in small amounts to help the immune system heal.
- Turmeric has antioxidant and antihistamine properties that can help you recover from hive outbreaks. It can ease inflammation and swelling. Some people may need to consult with a doctor first before using turmeric, and people who use prescription blood thinners are advised to stay away from it.
Written by: Elysia Richardson
What Does A Stress Rash Or Stress Hives Look Like
Stress hives usually appear as swollen bumps called welts or wheals. These bumps can cause redness. However, this redness may not show up easily on dark skin. In darker skin, the bumps may look skin-colored or have subtle redness.
When pressed against, stress hives become blanchable, meaning they briefly turn white. A welt is generally small about 1 to 2 centimeters in size but can combine with other welts to create a larger hive. Stress hives often look oval, round, or ring-like but also can take on irregular shapes.
Hives are very itchy. You may feel a tingling or burning sensation as if youve been bitten by mosquitos. In addition, some welts may disappear only to be replaced by new ones within a few hours.
Stress can also provoke flare-ups, or a return of symptoms, if you already have another skin condition, such as:
If youre experiencing these symptoms, call 911 right away for emergency medical attention.
Read Also: How To Stop Stressing About Something
How To Treat Anxiety Itch
Only a doctor can diagnose the source of itching in order to rule out any infectious or chronic causes of itching.
Reducing anxiety itch is exactly the same as reducing any type of itch. Despite the itch or rash being triggered by anxiety, the body must still find a way to overcome these symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rapid way to eliminate itch.
However, there are ways to reduce the itch in general, which are the same things you would do to reduce the discomfort of any itching. These include:
- Oatmeal Home Remedies
- Baking Soda
- Aloe Vera
Avoid scratching the itch as much as possible. Scratching can cause bumps that can become irritated and inflamed, which actually makes them itch worse and last longer. Also, keep the area of the skin dry as much as possible, and avoid tight fitting clothes that may irritate the skin.
What Is The Link Between Hives And Stress
The link between hives and stress hasnt been established, and researchers continue to study the topic. What they do know that emotional stress can adversely affect the immune system and that the body can react to stressful times by breaking out in skin irritations.
Per HealthCentral, researchers have identified specific kinds of hives that occur when a person is feeling stressed. One type is called cholinergic hives, which can appear when a persons stress levels raise their body temperature. Dermatographia is a form of stress hives that cause people to pick at their skin when they are feeling stressed. This constant pressure on the skin can cause the body to release histamine and cause hives or welts on the body.
People who already have autoimmune conditions or allergies may also be predisposed to breaking out with hives during stressful times. This link may have something to do with the fact that the nervous system and the skin are derived from the same embryologic layer, but research is still underway to better understand the correlation, HealthCentral writes.
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Elevate Blood Sugar
What Does Stress Rash Look Like
Stress increases our innate fight or flight response, boosting certain hormones such as cortisol and chemicals such as interleukins within the body, all of which increase inflammation, adds Dr Granite. Inflammation affects our skin, ramping up swelling, redness, and heat, which in turn can cause an itchy, angry rash.
So, for some, stress can cause hives which is a stress-induced rash that appears on the skin as welts, explains Felton. Alternatively, stress-induced inflammation can exacerbate skin conditions that youre predisposed to such as cold sores, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Read Also: What Does Stress Do To The Human Body
Why Stress Causes Hives
It is essential to understand how the body responds to stress. When you get stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This primitive stress response has existed for thousands of years.
When a woolly mammoth attacked a human in prehistoric times, the bodys response was to either fight the mammoth or run away from it. In the modern-day, however, this response is no longer needed, but the body is still hardwired to react in this way to stress. When youre under stress, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to prepare you to fight or run away from a threat. Therefore, the stress response is a normal reaction to a stressful stimulus when you feel threatened. It is a natural part of our fight-or-flight reaction.
Stress can affect your life in many ways, and there are many ways you can respond to and handle it. Stress causes many to suffer from various mental and physical health issues, including depression and high blood pressure. Hives are one of the ways that stress can manifest in your body. Hives are red, itchy spots on the skin and are caused by the immune system overreacting to an allergen in the body.
Stress hives are also caused by the release of a chemical called histamine into the bloodstream when youre under stress. Acute hives may itch or burn, and they tend to appear in groups.
Also Check: How To Stop Stressing Out About Something
How Do I Know If I Have Anxiety Hives
Hives are often mistaken for other skin diseases like Psoriasis and Angioedema.
How then do you know if those red welts on your skin are just hives caused by stress and not some severe skin disease? Its probably a stress hive if
- It appears in one area of your skin, welts up, only to go away for a few hours and reappear somewhere else on your skin.
- The welts are itchy around the edges.
- You probably experience a tingling or burning sensation when you touch the affected area.
- It doesnt contain pus and clear fluids.
- There is a connection between stress and the outbreak of hives. So you have had a rather stressful week at work, and suddenly there is this very itchy red patch on your skin. You most likely have anxiety hives.
How To Recognize Stress Hives In Children
The general signs of stress in children are similar to those you might feel yourself. These include a decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, an upset stomach, and headaches. But one of the lesser known symptoms is a case of hives.
If your child breaks out in hives, youll want to go through a mental checklist of common reasons, such as recent illnesses, hot days outdoors, or a vigorous day of sports. The best way to discover if stress is a factor is to eliminate the more obvious causes. If none of the obvious sources are reasonable then stress could be the culprit.
Because young children cant yet express themselves adequately when it comes to medical issues, depending on the age of your child we may rely on you for some context so we can determine what started the rash.
Also Check: What Is Post Stress Disorder
Is It Hives Or Angioedema
Angioedema swelling of tissue beneath the surface of the skin can be mistaken for, or associated with hives. It can be caused by allergic reactions, medications or a hereditary deficiency of some enzymes. The following symptoms may indicate angioedema:
- Swelling in the eyes or mouth
- Swelling of the hands, feet or throat
- Difficulty breathing, stomach cramps or swelling of the lining of the eyes
The best way to identify your symptoms is to talk to an allergist who can diagnose and treat both hives and angioedema.
Prescription Medications For A Stress Rash
For severe cases, there are a variety of prescription medications available to manage symptoms.
Prescription antihistamines may be helpful.
Certain drugs can help with an overactive immune system, including oral corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone, which can reduce swelling, inflammation and itching, but need to be used with caution and as prescribed.
You may also discuss the option of certain anxiety medications, which can help manage stress and triggers for such flare ups.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Stress And Anxiety
How To Get Rid Of Hives Fast
#1. Use The Over The Counter Medication OxyHives
Because it can take weeks to get an appointment, I always recommend my patients have OxyHives on hand for when they have an outbreak. It’s non-addictive, and unlike antihistamines, it won’t make you drowsy. Simply put two sprays under your tongue and the hives go away naturally within 1-2 hours. While OxyHives is the only treatment that is scientifically formulated to make your hives go away fast, there are other home remedies that can help at least lessen the itchy, burning feeling that hives causes.
How To Get Rid Of A Stress Rash With Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is the magical remedy for clearing a stress rash on face, neck or any other part of your body.
How to use?
- Take an aloe vera leaf
- Cut it and squeeze out the fresh gel
- Apply the gel directly on the stress rash on neck
- Leave it for thirty minutes and then wash off
Benefits of aloe vera
Aloe vera has potent anti-inflammatory and healing properties that soothe the skin and reduce the inflammation and itchiness.
Use freshly extracted aloe vera gel to treat an itchy skin rash optimally.
Also Check: Can You Get Cancer From Stress
Hives Are Rarely Due To A Serious Underlying Disease
Whilst a clear cause of hives in not obvious in many cases, causes may include:
- Infection from a virus is the most common cause of hives in children, especially if they last for more than 24 hours.
- Contact allergy to plants or animals may cause localized hives.
- Allergic reactions to food, medicines or insect stings can appear as hives. They usually occur within one to two hours of exposure and disappear in most cases within six to eight hours.
An allergic cause for hives should be suspected if episodes are rare, short-lived and occur under specific circumstances, for example:
- Only when exercising.
- Always within two hours of a meal.
- When symptoms involving other organs occur around the same time, such as stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing or dizziness.
- If hives occur with swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing or low blood pressure, anaphylaxis should be suspected. Urgent administration of adrenaline and medical assessment is required. Information about anaphylaxis is available on the ASCIA website.
Ongoing hives lasting days at a time are almost never allergic in origin, with the exception of some cases of allergy to medicines. Stress is a very rarely the cause of hives but may make the symptoms worse.
In some people hives are caused by physical triggers, including cold , heat, sunlight , vibration, rubbing or scratching of the skin , and delayed pressure , stress, alcohol, spicy food or coffee may cause symptoms.
Everything You Need To Know About Stress Rashes
According to the American Psychological Association, this past year has been the most stressful in many Americans lifetimes, with about 78% of surveyed Americans saying the pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives.
Stress manifests in different ways on an individual, but for many, it can appear on the skin.
The skin is the largest organ on the human body.
It protects your inner organs from the external environment, but sometimes it can become irritated resulting in a skin rash.
Rashes may be caused by a number of things, including allergies, fungus, viral or bacterial infections, as well as heat.
Stress is also a contributor to rashes and other skin conditions.
While most common rashes are not considered dangerous, a stress rash may be uncomfortable.
The good news is, a rash may be managed and contained if you understand its cause and symptoms.
You May Like: What To Get Someone Who Is Stressed
Does Stress Directly Cause Hives
Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact connection between stress and hives. One thing most agree on is that stress especially the adrenaline rush that stress brings on and the release of cortisol that usually follows can flip on your bodys autoimmune response.
That, in turn, triggers the body to break out in hives as a defense. If your child already has hives, stress can definitely accelerate the condition and cause a flare-up.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Is One Sign Of Caregiver Stress
What Causes Rashes On Face Neck And Chest
Kawasaki disease is a rare but serious illness that triggers a rash and fever in the early stages and can lead to an aneurysm of the coronary artery as a complication. Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection that causes an itchy, crusty rash, and yellow, fluid-filled sores on the face, neck, and hands.
How Do You Avoid Hive Outbreaks
If you have anxiety and break out in hives, this is your bodys stress response, which means you have to identify what triggers your anxiety and what you can do to manage your stress levels. Chronic hive outbreaks can be managed, and depending on the person, it may be challenging to predict when they happen because they can come in waves without you knowing.
However, identifying your stress triggers and having ways to manage them are both helpful and recommended. It will help to keep a journal to record how youre feeling and situations you may have in your life right now. After reviewing your account, you can group the external stressors you face and separate them from internal stressors you have.
As Mayo Clinic notes, some external stressors include:
- Major life changes, such as getting married or divorced, having a child, or dealing with a loved ones death.
- Environmental, which can include what we pick up from the settings around us. We can be exposed to noise levels that are too high, rooms that are too light or dark, and other factors in the environment.
- Unpredictable events that you couldnt plan for, such as uninvited guests dropping in or facing an increase in your rent or a cut in your pay.
Internal stressors can also bring on hives and other physical reactions to stress. These include:
Read Also: How To Reduce Stress To Lose Weight