Can You Get a Skin Rash From Stress?

Stress can make the skin break into hives
Stress can make the skin break into hives

Yes, the stress can make the skin break into hives. Stress induces a chemical response in the body that makes the skin more sensitive. It releases the hormone, cortisol, in the body that directs the gland in the skin to produce more oil, causing more skin problems.

Stress rash isn’t a reason for concern and can be treated at home. Stress rash can also occur due to underlying skin conditions, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.

Skin problems associated with stress include:

What are the symptoms of stress rash?

The most common signs of stress rash include:

  • Red and raised swellings
  • Bug bite like a rash that occurs alone or is connected over a large area
  • Skin swelling that disappears at one spot but may resurface at some other spot
  • Itchy rashes with a tingling or burning sensation
  • Widespread and raised rashes
  • Swelling of the lips and eyelids

Why do I have a stress rash?

Women in their 30s and 40s with a previous history of hives are at high risk of getting stress rashes. Stress alters the hormonal levels of the body. It makes a certain part of the nervous system hyperactive. These changes cause the chemical, histamine, to be released in the body. The histamine damages the skin cells and causes hives.

The excessive oily skin due to stress hormones is more prone to acne breakouts.

What happens if I scratch my stress rash?

Scratching the rash stimulates more histamine release leading to more itch; hence, it is advisable to stop scratching the rash. Use some soothing lotion instead, to calm the itchiness.

How long does stress rash last?

Generally, a single hive disappears within 24 hours or less, and a new hive appears at a different site as the older one subsides. A bout of hives or multiple hives usually takes about six weeks to resolve and is known as acute hives. Hives lasting for more than six weeks are known as chronic hives and should be brought to a dermatologist's attention.

How to treat a stress rash?

The best treatment is to learn proper stress management. A stress rash may require medications to treat them, which may include:

Other ways to relieve stress rash include:

  • Applying a cold compress
  • Avoid overheating
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes
  • Use over the counter anti-itch medications
  • Use fragrance-free moisturizer to prevent dry skin

Following measures can help handle and avoid stress.

  • Taking good care of your skin by keeping it clean and moisturizing it
  • Exercising regularly may prove beneficial to your skin and the body
  • Setting aside some time for yourself by indulging in things that make you happy
  • Relieving your stress and anxiety by practicing breathing techniques and meditation
  • Sleeping for seven to eight hours is essential for healthy skin
  • Do not overstress yourself with tasks or deadlines
  • Seeking help from someone you trust


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