How Are Eczema and Stress-Related?

Science has not been able to fully explain the relationship between eczema and stress. But we do know that such a relationship exists, and there are some hypotheses and possible explanations that could provide a full understanding of the phenomenon.

Eczema and stress are a problematic pairing for everyone. These are two health conditions that often go hand in hand and feed off each other. It is undoubtedly a very annoying combination with no easy solution.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and one of the organs that most easily reflects the states of the mind. This is because the skin is directly related to the nervous system through sensitive terminals that send information to the brain and vice versa.

At the same time, stress causes the release of a number of substances that affect the skin. This leads to various anomalies, including eczema. As you can see, the relationship between eczema and stress is direct and very close.


The word eczema is a general term for any inflammation of the skin. This type of inflammation is categorized as dermatitis, and atopic dermatitis refers to those caused by stress. In other words, when we talk about eczema and stress, we’re actually talking about atopic dermatitis and stress.

Eczema occurs when damage to the outer protective barrier of the skin occurs. At this point inflammation appears; the skin in the affected area becomes red and itchy. It is most common in the arms, knees, groin, and face.

In 85% of cases, the first eczema attack occurs before the age of five. Experts also estimate that 20% of children and 1-2% of adults will have eczema at some point in their lives. There are cases when eczema becomes a chronic and recurrent disease.

Stress and skin

There are several mechanisms by which stress affects the skin. It’s all because stress alters the functioning of the immune system. This leads to two effects. While reducing the skin’s defenses on the one hand, the skin becomes inflamed on the other.

Similarly, adrenaline and corticosteroid production increases under stress conditions. These act on skin receptors and cause changes in the skin. At the same time, research has found that all inflammatory diseases tend to worsen with stress.

A study conducted by the Spanish Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC) indicated that at least 50% of people with atopic dermatitis also suffer from depression and anxiety attacks. They also noted an increase in cases of stress-related eczema in recent years.

The relationship between eczema and stress

Stress affects the skin in many ways. It causes ailments ranging from hives to atopic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea. We now know that there is a link between eczema and stress, but the link is not yet fully understood.

As mentioned above, there is a very direct connection between the nervous system and the skin. In addition, eczema and stress create a vicious circle that is very difficult to get out of. The presence of the disorder increases stress levels, especially in social situations.

At the same time, increased stress levels can cause an increase in eczema. All of this together causes a significant amount of pain and produces feelings of frustration, insecurity, and hopelessness. This is compounded by the fact that there is no definitive cure for eczema.

Facts to keep in mind

Stress eczema indicates that a person is subject to great pressures and demands that they cannot cope with. It is a warning sign that should not be ignored. This means that there is a problem that is unresolved and beyond the means at our disposal.

While there is no specific treatment for stress eczema beyond moisturizing the affected areas, the solution lies in addressing the cause, the stress itself. The most recommended thing to do in these situations is to implement some lifestyle changes.

Regular practice of physical exercise is often very effective for controlling stress. Likewise, activities such as yoga or meditation practices are highly recommended. It’s a good idea to consult a psychologist who can help us learn to manage stressful situations.


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