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Stress And Eczema: What You Need To Know
Suffering from stress eczema and looking for answers? We can help.
In this article, we’ll cover the causes of this type of eczema and what you can do about it. Read on for all of our tips and tricks.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Eczema?
- How Stress Affects Eczema
- Tips For Eliminating Stress Eczema
- How To Manage And Treat Eczema Symptoms
What Is Eczema?
Before we discuss how stress comes into play, it’s important to have an understanding of what eczema is in general first.
The word “eczema” is an umbrella term for skin conditions categorized by dry patches, redness, and itchiness. Most commonly, it refers to atopic dermatitis, which is a genetic or environmental condition.
This skin condition usually forms in the skin folds or in areas of flexion (the parts of your skin that get stretched or creased when you move around). It’s also very common in children but can affect people of all ages.
Interestingly, people who suffer from eczema are often affected by other immune system conditions — such as allergic rhinitis, food allergies, and asthma — as well. This is because they share an inflammatory response to environmental allergens.
The good news is eczema isn’t contagious. But some things can worsen flare-ups and your skin’s appearance, such as environmental factors and lifestyle habits. In fact, one of the main culprits of eczema is stress.
Let’s take a closer look at how this works below.
How Stress Affects Eczema
As we mentioned above, stress is a huge trigger for eczema. The hormones released when we are under stress cause dysresulation of the immune system, which can result in eczema appearing on your skin.
We all experience stress in our lives, whether it’s from work, school, relationships, family, finances, or other factors. So, before you put your self-care on the back burner, remember that soothing your nervous system is a top priority if you are struggling with stress eczema.
Not sure how to do that? Here are some tips for managing stress so your skin can heal.
Tips For Managing Stress
Now that we’ve looked at what eczema is and how stress can make matters worse, let’s turn our attention to a list of nine things that can help you manage your stress.
Meditation is one way to combat stress and can do wonders for your overall health and wellbeing.
There are many different ways to practice meditation, such as listing five things that you’re grateful for every morning and evening, going on a nature walk to appreciate wildlife or your surroundings, or joining a meditation class for support.
Whatever you choose, it’s all about calming your mind and being in tune with yourself.
2) Move Your Body
Healthy movement, like exercise, can strengthen your cardiovascular system and tissues and aid in the detoxification of your whole body. Any type of exercise that you enjoy counts, and every little bit helps.
3) Go Outdoors
Nature is medicine for your soul. Whether you enjoy long hikes or just taking care of some potted plants on the balcony, a little fresh air and connection to the earth will relieve your mind and lower stress levels.
4) Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a fast track to stress, anxiety, sluggishness, and aggravation. Make sure to drink the right amount of water for your body every day.
5) Correct Your Posture
Bad posture can cause tension headaches, migraines, and back pain while also compounding low-grade stress over time.
Check your posture if you are noticing more stress eczema appearing on your body. And seek professional help if you think something is affecting your spine more than just slouching.
6) Focus On Nutrition
Eating fresh, healthy, and balanced meals fills your body with micronutrients and the energy it needs to repair itself. Even one day of balanced eating can make a huge difference in your mood and stress levels.
7) Improve Your Time Management
There’s a lot to do during the day. Having appropriate time management systems in place can help ease your stress and allow you to confidently cross those items off your to-do list without causing an eczema flare-up.
8) Seek Therapy
Mental health is a key part of your overall health. If none of the methods above are getting to the root of your stress, it might be time to find a professional therapist who can help you untangle and deconstruct your stressors.
9) Get Plenty Of Sleep
The last, but arguably most important, step to managing your stress is sleep. While we sleep, our bodies and brains heal, restore, and cleanse from the day’s demands and pressures.
If you are under stress from outside factors or even nervous system stress from incorrect posture, it can prevent your mind from going into a deep sleep and properly restoring itself. This causes you to wake up feeling unrested and unprepared to take on the day.
Sleep deprivation can also worsen symptoms and increase eczema itchiness and irritation. This is a vicious cycle, as itchiness can be annoying and make it hard to relax and fall asleep at night, too.
How To Manage And Treat Eczema Symptoms
Managing stress is an important part of the stress-eczema puzzle, but other lifestyle changes and tips can also help calm your skin.
1) Choose Soft Clothing
If you have eczema, cotton and other breathable fabrics are best. Harsh fabrics, like wool, have micro-hooks in the fibers that aggravate eczema.
2) Wash All New Clothing
Speaking of clothing, fire retardants, formaldehyde, and dyes are often added to clothes during processing and shipping. Always wash new clothing to prevent contact irritation.
3) Avoid Extreme Weather
The climate you live in can worsen eczema, too. Whenever possible, avoid prolonged exposure to very cold and dry climates as well as very hot and humid conditions.
While it usually doesn’t make sense to move to a different climate, wearing protective clothing can do wonders for your irritated skin.
4) Use Lukewarm Water For Baths And Showers
Bathing or showering in extreme temperatures can worsen eczema symptoms. Only use lukewarm water when you take a bath or shower to protect your delicate skin.
5) Cleanse Your Skin Every Night
To help keep eczema symptoms at bay, you need to remove sweat, sunscreen, chlorine, dirt, and pollutants from your skin. To love on your skin while getting it clean, use a non-irritating product, like our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash, to gently cleanse and moisturize.
6) Avoid Exposure To Allergens
Certain allergens can worsen stress eczema, too. These can easily cause a flare-up, so it’s important to avoid environmental triggers, such as:
- Dust Mites
Simple practices like vacuuming daily, regularly doing laundry, bathing before bed, and wearing clean clothes to sleep will all help improve your symptoms.
7) Avoid Scratching
Eczema is worsened by scratching. This is due to something called the Itch-Scratch Cycle; scratching and rubbing your skin will further inflame it, which spreads and worsens your eczema. Rather than scratch the itch, apply a moisturizer to soothe your skin.
Our Daily Calming Cream is a unique botanical-containing formula that moisturizes to help restore healthy skin. It also contains colloidal oatmeal to help protect and restore rough, eczema-prone skin.
One of the best ways to lock in moisture is to apply your moisturizing cream to slightly damp skin after bathing or washing your hands. This prevents moisture loss from towels and air-drying and gives your skin the extra hydration it needs.
Prioritize Treating Your Stress Eczema
In order to truly relieve your stress eczema, it’s important to prioritize your own mental health and well-being. Without proper rest, restorative practices, and soothing products, your body can struggle to heal.
While stress eczema can feel like a vicious cycle, hope is on the horizon. Try incorporating some of the stress-relieving practices mentioned here, avoid irritants whenever possible, and lock in much-needed moisture with Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream.
Better skin days are ahead!
Mayo Clinic National Eczema Association National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases