How to get rid of an Anxiety Rash

by Nicole Barra

Rid Yourself of Anxiety Rash in 9 Easy Steps

If you’ve experienced a rash due to your anxiety, you’re probably wondering how this can be possible and what you can do about it. Not everyone with anxiety experiences rashes, and not all rashes stem from anxiety, but there is certainly a link. Rash flare-ups can occur in relation to an anxiety-provoking event, such as when you are anxious about your job, money, family, or other things in your personal life.1

How Anxiety Can Cause Skin Rash

It may surprise you that anxiety can trigger skin rash. But the link between your brain and immune system is a powerful thing. Anxiety signals a part of your brain and your nervous system to release certain hormones. These stress hormones cause cells in your body to respond in the form of an allergic or inflammatory reaction. One of these reactions can include skin rash.2,3

Researchers have found that the skin is particularly sensitive to anxiety and stress. Maybe that’s because your skin is the largest organ in your body.3

Anxiety can also impair the protective outer layer of the skin, which usually works as a barrier. As a result, your skin can become easier to penetrate and more sensitive to reactions when you’re anxious.4

Anxiety Can Cause or Make These Rashes Worse

Some cases of rash are not due to anything serious.1 But anxiety can also trigger immune system rashes or make them worse. These rashes can include those found in conditions such as: 3-5

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Pruritus
  • Lichen planus
  • Rosacea

In turn, people who suffer from these rash conditions can experience anxiety because of their skin conditions due to discomfort and embarrassment.4

 9 Steps You Can Take To Defend Yourself From Anxiety Rash

At an American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) meeting, skin doctors talked about ways to manage anxiety rash, including the importance of reducing anxiety that triggers rashes.4 They discussed a number of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) therapies.

The following are steps you can take to relieve anxiety rash using CAM:

  1. Apply moisturizer—skin becomes more reactive and sensitive during periods of anxiety, so a good  moisturizer can improve the protective outer layer of your skin4
  2. Meditate—for stress reduction that can quiet the skin’s inflammatory response4,5
  3. Practice yoga—this combination of stretching, breathing, and meditation can reduce your anxiety and help calm your skin’s response to stress4
  4. Perform Tai Chi—this gentle form of exercise involves slow, focused movements with deep breathing to bring about feelings of relaxation and balance4
  5. Take essential fatty acids—flaxseed oil or fish oil supplements can reduce inflammation5
  6. Drink water during the day—to flush out toxins that contribute to skin irritation and hydrate skin5
  7. Get some mild morning sunlight—to promote healing, especially if you have anxiety-induced eczema or psoriasis; avoid bright sunlight if you have rosacea5
  8. Use hydrotherapy—if you have psoriasis, take a lukewarm bath and add in 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cup rolled oats + 1/3 cup cornstarch mixed together to form a powder, and 1 lb of baking soda. This alkaline bath can soothe the skin6
  9. Consider hypnosis—skin doctors have found this to be helpful for addressing anxiety-induced rash4

References:

  1. Deacock SJ. An approach to the patient with urticaria. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008;153:151-161.Available at:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492902/. Accessed on October 2, 2012.
  2. Ninabahen DD, Xiang L, Rehm KE, et al. Stress and allergic diseases. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2011;31:55-69. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264048/. Accessed on October 2, 2012.
  3. Hall JMF, Cruser DA, Podawiltz A, et al. Psychological stress and the cutaneous immune response: roles of the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Dermatol Res Pract. 2012; 2012: 403908. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437281/. Accessed on October 2, 2012.
  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Managing stress can help people improve their skin conditions. Available at: http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/managing-stress-can-help-people-improve-their-skin-conditions. Accessed on October 2, 2012.
  5. Balch JF, Stengler M. Anxiety. Prescription for Natural Cures. 2004. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 218-223, 455-465.
  6. Gottlieb B. A dietary approach that can clear up psoriasis. Alternative cures: the most effective natural home remedies for 160 health problems. 2000. Rodale. 523-537.

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