eczema stress and skin rashes

Eczema Triggered By Stress, and 2 Ways To Treat It NOW

Category: Blog

How Stress Aggravates or Triggers Eczema and Other Skin Rashes

Eczema and other skin rashes such as psoriasis can be chronic and detrimental to your day to day life. Some people experience eczema since childbirth or infancy all the way through adulthood, whereas some people outgrow their skin rashes.

For those who are experiencing eczema or other skin rashes chronically, it can be very embarrassing, and uncomfortable. We are going to discuss how stress affects eczema.

Stress and Eczema

I am sure we have all experienced and have seen how stress can have a great impact on our skin. Not only is having eczema stressful in itself, but the other every day stresses in life can also make the symptoms of eczema worse.

Under stress, some people will experience skin symptoms such as:

        • Eczema or psoriasis
        • Hives
        • Acne
        • Dandruff and hair loss

When your nervous system feels hyper-active, do you find your skin becomes more sensitive?  And then in turn, do you find yourself itching and scratching more when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed?  Well, you’re not imagining things and you’re not alone.  Stress can and does affect our skin adversely.

When we are experiencing stress or anxiety, we automatically go into what is called the fight-or-flight response.  When this happens, the adrenal glands, which are triangular-shaped glands which sit on top of the kidneys, will release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline can tend to make people perspire more and lose water and if this moisture is not replenished, then this could lead to drier skin.  Also, cortisol is another hormone that is released during this time.  Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and when in excess, it can cause an imbalance in the immune system and produce inflammation in the skin.

Stress and Digestion

Another area that can be a target for the inflammation is our digestive system.  When we are under stress, all the blood flow and resources are moved away from the digestive system to other parts of the body where it perceives that it needs it most (this is part of the fight or flight response).  So, digestion gets slowed down and when this happens, the bad bacteria and other harmful microorganisms are not able to move through the gut and instead stay and wreak havoc and can start to overcrowd the good or beneficial bacteria which we need in order for our digestive and immune systems to work optimally.

When this becomes chronic, this can then lead to the inflammation that causes increased permeability of the gut lining which is sometimes referred to as the ‘leaky gut syndrome.’  And as a reminder, when we have leaky gut syndrome, this makes us more prone to food sensitivity reactions, so we may once again start reacting to foods that we were previously tolerating before and hence the skin flareup.

It is common that when people are under tremendous stress, they sometimes do not eat as well and start to indulge in unhealthy or packaged foods and too much sugar and eating less nutrient dense foods.  When this happens, this can further cause an imbalance in the friendly bacteria in the gut and cause inflammation, which again will lead to leaky gut syndrome.  Furthermore, consumption of sugar can start to feed the bad bacteria and the undesirable yeast (Candida) which can overgrow and cause further damage to the digestive lining.

When this occurs we start to see digestive symptoms such as:

        • Bloating and distention
        • Constipation or diarrhea
        • Abdominal cramping and pain
        • Excess belching or gas
        • Low energy and brain fog

So, you can see how chronic stress can aggravate or trigger eczema flareups in a few ways.

If you’re someone who’s dealing with skin rashes, including eczema and psoriasis, consider your digestive health as a starting place to begin investigation and treatment. Removing food allergens and sensitivities can make a big difference! To determine your food sensitivities, there are specific tests and elimination diets.


If you’re suffering from eczema, psoriasis or any other skin rashes or concerns, please book with us at Bay Wellness Centre.