Stress Rash: Why It Happens and What to Do If You Have It
Stress rash is often an embarrassing condition that affects millions of people around the world. Typically triggered by the body’s inability to handle certain situations or environments, stress rashes present themselves in an assortment of ways and are most commonly considered to be hives. However, even though many patients who suffer from stress rash exhibit symptoms of hives, not all stress related rashes give the same appearance.
What are the symptoms of stress rash?
As no two people are exactly alike, symptoms of tension rash will vary from patient to patient. While one person may experience large welts, or raised red patches on the skin in only one area, another person may develop these hives all over their body. In some cases, this type of rash may appear as a patch of tiny white and red bumps that are itchy. Some burning is common with most rashes, but is usually not severe. In more serious cases, sufferers may present with swollen eyes or lips.
What causes tension rash?
The human body is a complex organism designed with an enormous capacity to fight off illness and maintain proper function. Under normal circumstances, our bodies use certain hormones like cortisol and histamines to sustain life and encourage overall health. During stressful times, cortisol and histamine production is increased dramatically which leads to abnormalities in the skin. Most rashes are short lived, but in some cases where chronic anxiety is a problem, rashes may come and go more frequently.
What can be done to treat stress rash?
Although there is no clinical cure for stress related rash, many patients find that by applying hydrocortisone ointment to affected areas they can greatly reduce inflammation and burning associated with the condition. For others, prescription or over the counter anti-histamines prove useful in lessening the appearance of welts and help to reduce the length of time suffered. In cases where hives or anxiety rash is serious, physicians will generally prescribe oral steroids.
During an episode of rash, there are a couple of things to keep in mind that will help the situation dissipate quicker and lessen severity:
- As much as possible, allow air flow easy access to help dry out your rash.
- Avoid over washing. Using lukewarm water and hypoallergenic soaps, gently massage affected areas and pat dry.
How to prevent anxiety rashes
Clearly, as stress rash is usually directly related to stress related situations, prevention isn’t always possible. Nevertheless, working to control the condition is not impossible. For many, learning how to better manage stressful situations is often the only method of fighting rash associated with anxiety. Coming up with a plan before things get hectic can help, as well as learning different ways in which to cope with tense situations. Below are some suggestions on how you or someone you know can improve yours or their coping skills:
- DETERMINE THE TRIGGER: If you know ahead of time that a certain situation or individual increases your stress level, try to avoid those events or people. Understandably, not all circumstances are avoidable, such as co-workers and job related tensions, but do what you can to minimize those settings which typically put you on edge.
- COMMUNICATE: Communication is one of the most important aspects of dealing with tension. If you feel uncomfortable during conversations, rash flares can be almost eminent. Try practicing your communication skills on a close friend or relative to help you feel more at ease about sharing your thoughts and emotions.
- HIATUS: Taking time to care for you is a great way to lessen stress. Be sure that all of your daily routines aren’t making you crazy and that your personal needs are met.
- GIVE UP: Sometimes situations and people can never be changed. When you have tried everything to no avail, stop trying. Working to modify other people’s behavior or events only drains you of energy and fills you with tension.
It is not uncommon that persons who suffer from this kind of condition may become depressed and withdrawn. If you suffer from severe stress rash and find the condition is worsening or has become unbearable, please talk with your physician about options available to you for treatment. There is hope and you are not alone.