What Skin Conditions are Commonly Caused by Stress?

Stress is your body’s reaction to various challenges or demands in life. Although stress is natural, too much stress can take a toll on your general, emotional and mental health. Your hair, skin, and nails can become affected as stress begins to regress their overall strength and well-being. Even if stress is not the direct cause of a skin problems or diseases, this type of strain can exacerbate or prolong the issue. Some examples of skin issues often related to stress include: Eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, ichthyosis, vitiligo, hives, seborrheic dermatitis, and fever blisters, to name the most common. Many of these conditions are related to the fact that your body creates natural hormones in response to stress. For example, cortisol which is produced by your body’s adrenal glands in response to stress, increases the overall oil content within the body when it is released. This excess oil can be the root cause associated with the development of many of these skin problems.

Individuals experiencing a lot of stress in their lives, also tend to spend less time on their overall skin care. However, this is the first step toward easing the effects of stress on the skin. This idea goes hand-in-hand with people taking times for themselves and setting limits. It’s crucial to understand that saying “no” is okay if it means lowering your stress level. Additional self-supporting actions may include taking a walk around the block, incorporating some stress management techniques like yoga, or even partaking in activities that you enjoy like reading a good book or taking a bath. Physicians and other caregivers emphasize the importance of getting adequate sleep and exercise. Finally, it is essential to recognize when your stress level has reached the point of overwhelming – It may be time to talk with someone about the issue or issues causing stress. Seeking support from a professional or even a friend is extremely beneficial and a person can oftentimes alleviate the concern just talking to another person.

More on the most common stress-related skin issues previously mentioned:

  1. Eczema: Also commonly referred to as Atopic Dermatitis, eczema is a skin rash that can appear anywhere on the body. It can lead to intense itching, which can cause the skin to break and bleed. This painful skin condition’s cause is unknown, but as previously mentioned, stress can lead to the spread and worsening of the rash.
  2. Psoriasis: This is a disease of the skin where excessive skin cells are created leading to what appears as scaly patches on the body. Just like eczema, this autoimmune disease can be quite painful and itchy. Stress can definitely intensify the problem..
  3. Acne: Cortisol, the hormone that was mentioned earlier, plays a huge role in causing the kind of acne that everyone experiences at various times in their life. Stress causes the release of Cortisol, which increases the oil content within the human body, in turn creating more acne, and likely more stress.
  4. Rosacea: This common skin disease tends to leave people looking more flushed than the average individual. It typically occurs in adults around the age of 30 beginning with the face, but it can spread to other areas of the body as well. Stress can aggravate this issue and can create a negative feedback loop resulting in more prominent breakouts.
  5. Vitiligo– This is also an auto immune disease characterized by white patches of skin that have lost their pigment. This de-pigmentation is due to the deterioration of cells that give the skin its color. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is unclear, the major contributing factor to the spread of the disease is too much stress.
  6. Hives: Hives are a very common rash that people often experience at least once in their lives. It is characterized by raised itchy bumps or plaques on the skin. Generally, hives appear suddenly as a result of a particular allergy or sensitivity, and most commonly caused by stress.
  7. Seborrheic Dermatitis: This is a universal skin condition that mainly affects the scalp but can appear in other places of the body. Individuals already suffering from eczema can develop this condition as well. It is also identified by redness and itching skin. Once again, stress is the major factor that may aggravate the symptoms of this condition.
  8. Fever Blisters: Commonly referred to as cold sores, fever blister are caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). These blisters can be painful, grow in clusters, and are contagious as they can be passed from one person to the next. A person with a lot of stress would have a weakened immune system and in turn could trigger a cold sore outbreak.

If you are suffering from any of these skin diseases or conditions, even where stress is involved, there is a lot of help available from your local dermatologist. Contact Lady Lake Dermatology & Mohs Surgery in The Villages, or Leesburg Dermatology & Mohs Surgery for a consultation today.