Woman with long hair and earrings scratching reddened skin on her neck | The Connection Between Eczema and Stress

The Connection Between Eczema and Stress

Upcoming bills, an overpacked schedule, big work deadlines, tax season — they’re all stressful. Eczema is too.

Researchers have long known that increased stress can trigger or worsen eczema flare-ups. Because eczema itself is stress-inducing, the connection between stress and eczema can lead to an endless cycle of itchy skin.

Better understanding how your body responds to stressful situations can help minimize eczema symptoms.

Can Eczema Be Caused by Stress?

Eczema isn’t caused by stress. In fact, the exact cause of eczema is still unknown today. It’s thought to be a combination of genetic, bacterial, and environmental factors. However, stress can and often does trigger eczema. 

What Are Other Eczema Triggers?

Stress isn’t the only trigger of eczema. Other factors that can worsen eczema symptoms include:

  • Weather, either extremely hot and humid weather or extremely cold temperatures
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Hormonal changes
  • Airborne allergens
  • Chemicals in household or skincare products
  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Smoking

Because the list of possible eczema triggers is long and full of everyday environmental and lifestyle factors, it can be extremely difficult to pin down exactly what’s causing your eczema to flare. 

To determine your personal eczema triggers, keep track of the severity of your eczema symptoms along with what you’ve been exposed to during that time frame. By writing the information down, you may begin to notice trends over time. For best results, consult with your dermatologist or primary healthcare provider.

How Does Stress Affect Eczema?

During times of stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. In this heightened state, the body produces larger amounts of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. 

When your body produces excess cortisol, the stress hormone can suppress your immune system and set off an inflammatory response in the skin. People with eczema-prone skin are more susceptible to this skin response.

How Do You Get Rid of Stress Eczema?

At this time, there is no cure for eczema. With lifestyle adjustments and a gentle skincare routine designed for eczema-prone skin, you can minimize symptoms and flare-ups. Minimize eczema symptoms by:


Getting Adequate Sleep

Sleep deprivation can cause increased levels of inflammation in the body, triggering worsened eczema symptoms. Sleep is a critical time for your body to naturally replenish and repair itself. That’s why losing even a couple hours of sleep each night can drastically affect your skin health.

Eczema disrupts sleep, which can negatively impact health, cognitive function, and quality of life. If itchy skin is keeping you awake at night, talk to your doctor. They may recommend taking an antihistamine, which helps to reduce itch and can make you drowsy. Also be sure to practice good sleep hygiene by keeping your bedroom dark and avoiding electronics at least an hour before bed.

Practicing Stress Management

In an ideal world, you could eliminate the stressors that are triggering your eczema. That’s just not the reality most of the time. You can’t avoid work, bills, relationships, or even an overly full schedule sometimes.

In the midst of difficult seasons of life, be sure to implement extra stress management techniques. Consider finding a stress relief method that works for you, including: 

  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Talking to a therapist or counselor
  • Exercising (just be sure to take a lukewarm shower after sweating)
  • Scheduling time for rest and relaxation

Balancing Your Skin Microbiome

Managing stress addresses one of eczema’s triggers. However, it’s not addressing any of the possible causes. Balancing your skin microbiome does.

People with eczema have higher amounts of S. aureus bacteria living on the surface of the skin than people without eczema. Researchers used to believe this was a result of the eczema, not a factor in its development.

Today, that’s all changed, and S. aureus is now acknowledged for the role it plays in the development of eczema.

When bad bacteria such as S. aureus begin to overgrow, it throws your skin microbiome out of balance, leaving your skin unable to as effectively protect the body and ward off the development of skin conditions such as eczema.

That’s why bringing balance back to your microbiome can drastically improve the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups.

Gladskin Eczema Cream is proven to reduce itch and redness by restoring the skin’s natural balance — without the use of steroids, drying alcohols, or preservatives. For most people, it’s effective in just a few days so you can outsmart eczema quickly.

Image showing Gladskin products and reading 'Shop the Eczema-Prone Collection' | The Connection Between Eczema and Stress

Caring for Mental Health with Eczema

According to the National Eczema Association, more than 30% of people with eczema have also been diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety.

Eczema can take a toll on mental health. Relieving eczema symptoms and preventing future flare-ups may help to alleviate some of the emotional and physical pain associated with the skin disorder.

In the meantime, never hesitate to talk to loved ones, professionals, or an eczema support group. You don’t have to handle the stress of eczema on your own.