Can Stress Cause Itching?

Pruritus or itchy skin is an inflammatory reaction of your skin, and depending on what causes it in the first place, you may experience itching on your entire body. You may have mild or severe conditions, such as allergic reactions or severe infections when you feel itchy. It is actually a normal reaction of your body to something that it deems harmful. The question is, "Can anxiety and stress cause itching?" Let's find out more about it.

Can Stress Cause Itching?

Yes, it can. You may experience severe itching when you are under stress or are dealing with some other emotional problems. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and just like other organs, it also feels the effect of anxiety and stress. Moreover, you may not only develop an irritating itch when you are under stress, but you may also notice your existing skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema become worse. This actually happens due to two reasons:

  • Stress triggers your immune system and causes it to overreact. Skin cells responds by attacking perceived invaders, which in turn leads to skin inflammation and severe itching.
  • Stress triggers the production of hormones, including cortisol that makes the sebaceous glands to increase the production of oil. Oily skin is more prone to problems. You may also develop an allergic reaction due to the overproduction of certain stress hormones that can cause itching.

The problem becomes severe when people experience emotional disturbances due to red, inflamed skin. They even isolate themselves and stay off from work. This in turn increases stress which will promote a new outbreak of itchy skin.

How to Deal with Itching Caused by Stress

Can stress cause itching? Now you know the answer, so how to deal with it? Here are some suggestions for you.

1. Overcome Stress

When stress is the cause of concern, you should focus on reducing it first. You will notice relief if you can identify the source of stress and can somehow eliminate it from your life. Whatever the case, you should pay attention to your diet and ensure you are taking enough vitamins and minerals. Supplements may help in this regard. Stay active and take a short walk every day to improve blood circulation and lower stress. Hugs, massage, and even talking with someone you trust may also help.

2. Try Topical Treatment

You can always try topical treatments to deal with your stress-induced skin irritation. An OTC 1% hydrocortisone cream usually works fine for most skin problems, but you may also consider trying a 2.5% prescription treatment for significant improvements. Some people have enjoyed positive results from calamine lotion that contains the active ingredient zinc oxide. Anti-itch gels may also work in some situations.

3. Try Some Natural Remedies

Can stress cause itching? Yes, it can, but you can try some natural remedies to improve your skin condition. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Baking Soda

It works amazingly well for itching skin and skin rashes. It can reduce inflammation and produce a soothing effect. It also works as an acid neutralizer to improve your skin condition.

Fill your bathtub with cool water and add a cup of baking soda to it. Stir it well and ensure the baking soda has dissolved in the water. Now, soak in it for about 30 minutes. Be sure to pat dry your skin and avoid rubbing your skin with a towel. Do this once a day for better results. Avoid this remedy if you have open wounds or broken skin.

  • Colloidal Oatmeal

You can make use of colloidal oatmeal to soothe your itchy skin. It works against your itching because it reduces inflammation and irritation.  

Fill your tub with lukewarm water and add a couple of cups of very finely ground oatmeal to it. Soak in it for at least 15 minutes and then use the towel to pat dry your skin. Ensure that the water is not hot or you may end up damaging your skin further. Repeat thrice in case your skin condition is quite severe.

  • Cool Water

Since the same nerve fibers carry the sensations of itching and cold, applying cool water on your affected skin really helps relieve itching for a while. Here are some ways to use cool water: Take a cool bath or shower; Keep your affected skin area under cool tap water for a while for relief; Take ice cubes and wrap them in a cloth. Now place them over your affected area for relief.

  • Lemon

Lemon is a rich source of acetic and citric acids that have anesthetic, antiseptic, and anti-irritating properties. It works fine to reduce inflammation as well.

Take two fresh lemons and extract their juice. Use a cotton ball to apply the juice directly on your affected skin. Leave it there until it becomes dry and then wash it with lukewarm water. Do it twice a day until you find some relief. Just avoid it in case you have sensitive skin.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Thanks to its antifungal, anti-itching, and antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar works amazingly well to resolve many skin problems, including itching.

Get a tub and fill it with lukewarm water. Now, add a couple of cups of apple cider vinegar to it. Soak in it for half an hour and then pat dry your skin. Get a light moisturizer and apply it thoroughly on your skin. Do it once a day.

  • Aloe Vera

Can stress cause itching? Yes, and in this condition, you can use aloe vera for relief. Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties make it a fine remedy for your itchy skin. It also improves the overall health of your skin, thanks to the presence of vitamin E.

Take an aloe vera leaf and extract its gel. Apply it directly on your affected skin and rinse after 15 minutes using lukewarm water. Do it once a day for relief. 

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