What is a Stress rash?
A stress rash is a skin condition that appears as a response to undergoing mental or emotional stress. The relationship between the skin and the nervous stress people experience is at first puzzling, but biologically, the rash occurs in reaction to the various stimuli sent out by the nervous system when a person is subjected to a certain level of psychological stress. The rashes emerge as red and elevated areas on the skin, and can tend to aggravate and persist when the person fails to recover from or pacify the stress he is going through.
Stress rashes have the following symptoms:
- Red and raised
- Rashes can have pale centers and red borders
- Can occur anywhere on the body
- Can act similarly to hives, appearing suddenly and can then disappear but re-emerge in another area of the body
Dermatologic manifestations such as rashes can be linked to stress because of the signals the nervous system sends to the rest of the body when it feels that the normal balance is disturbed while a person is experiencing stress. Under stress, a chemical reaction on the skin is triggered, thus the skin tends to become sensitized. The nervous system senses the stress the body is undergoing and causes an increased production of cortisol along with other hormones. These stimulate the sebaceous glands to release more oil, causing rashes due to the irritation of the skin. In addition, stress prompts the increased production of histamine, causing dilation of blood vessels and inflammatory responses.
Antihistamines can be taken to address itching and inflammation. Cool compresses are used to reduce irritation. Essentially, treating stress rashes is centered around resolving the stressor, thus consequentially getting rid of the symptoms as well.
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