Skin conditions associated with stress.
Do you sometimes find yourself in a cycle of nervous scratching and itching when
you’re in a high pressure situation?
Do you get acne on the morning of an important presentation? Chances are, these skin conditions are all related to stress.
Why Stress Makes You Itch
In moderate doses, stress — the pressures of work, family life, change — drives your emotional engine. But when pressures mount and you get anxious, your body goes into high gear to cope. Stress causes your body to release powerful hormones that upset the balance in your body, affecting many organs, including your skin. There’s a long list of skin disorders that are at least partially related to stress. In many of them, pruritus — the medical term for itching — is a primary symptom. Scratching can cause a mild skin disorder to persist and even get worse. And, stress sufferers are especially prone to nervous scratching.
Acne — Not Just for Teenagers
Acne is another common response to stress. You may have thought you left acne behind with your teen years, only to have it reappear as your career–and your own teenage children–make increased demands on you.
The most important thing to do with most of these skin conditions is to keep your hands off of them. Avoid scratching or touching the lesions. Try relaxing in a warm — not hot — bath with baking soda or oatmeal added to the water. Cortisone ointments, oral antihistamines, and even antibiotics are helpful for some conditions, but see your doctor before treating yourself. A skin condition can be a sign of allergy, infection, or other illness that needs special treatment.
Do Something About Stress
If you have other stress-related disorders, such as upset stomach, heartburn, high blood pressure, or insomnia along with your skin condition, there’s a pretty good chance you could use some stress management training. One of the specialties at Avenues to Wellness is stress reduction. We use quantum biofeedback, and techniques such as yoga, meditation, relaxation, deep breathing, and communication skills really do help you cope with stress.
Stress-Related Skin Conditions
- Neurodermatitis – itching, thickened patches of skin, scratch marks
- Acne – blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts on face and shoulders
- Psoriasis – dry red patches of skin covered with scales
- Lichen planus – itchy reddish-purple patches on wrists, legs, torso, genitals, mouth, and lips
- Hives – red, swollen extremely itchy welts on skin
- Over-treatment dermatitis – redness and sensitivity as a result of too-vigorous treatment of a skin disorder