What Does A Stress Rash Look Like? 4 Top Tips For Treatment


Now and again, from time to time, even the most relaxed and positive among us can feel a little worn down. Whether it’s work, kids, relationships - or all 3! Stress can play a part in daily life for any of us. 

And whilst you may accept this is simply just a part of being human, when that tired, anxious feeling then develops into a ‘stress rash’, we have other problems that we need to consider. 

Suddenly you find yourself in a downward spiral. You’re stressed, so a rash develops, which makes you more stressed, which worsens the rash! 

It can feel like a perpetual cycle that seems at times impossible to break free from. 

So we thought we’d lend a helping hand and break down this stress rash stuff for you, as well as providing some hopefully useful and insightful top tips. 

In this article, you’ll find: 

1. What causes a stress rash?

2. Is it common?

3. Typical symptoms

4. 4 top tips for getting back to your best self

5. When to see a doctor

6. Final word 

Let’s go! 

So, what causes a stress rash? 

When it comes to our bodies (and our skin) there’s always consequences and secondary actions. Just like you can’t sit on one end of a see-saw without the other side coming up, you can’t unfortunately live under stress and not expect it to impact you in other ways. 

When we’re feeling anxious, worried or like the world is a little heavy, our bodies can release more of the hormone cortisol. 

This in turn can then lead to inflammation which (you got it!) can flare up other conditions (like eczema) and cause a nasty, red rash to appear. 

Besides the increase of cute, cuddly cortisol flowing through your body, allergic reactions can also trigger a stress rash. 

Top triggers for an allergic reaction can be: 

- Pet dander

- Pollen

- Dust

- Animals

- Foods such as gluten, dairy, peanuts or sugar

Is a stress rash common? 

If you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, then you’re more prone to developing a rash due to stress. In fact, stress can commonly become a trigger for flare ups

If you don’t have a pre-existing skin condition then it’s rarer for you to suffer from stress rashes, although they can appear at will without any forewarning or polite hello! 

Typical symptoms of a stress rash

When it comes to the world of stress rashes, they usually take the form of hives. These appear as an itchy, raised red rash on your skin and can show up anywhere, from ankle to earlobe. 

These blotchy areas can vary in size from a pencil tip to the size of a dinner plate. Meaning you can be in for either one tiny spot or a complete covering. Wonderful. 

Usually a single hive will come and go in the space of 24 hours but sometimes symptoms can persist. If you’re still suffering with the condition 6-8 weeks after its initial inception, then it’s considered chronic. 

4 tops tips for getting back to your best self

1. Stop itching and moisturise regularly 

We know, this one is tough to do and you’ve tried a million creams in the past that just didn’t work. But luckily, our very own calming spray is exactly what you’ve been missing! 

Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs used for 1000’s of years in Asian medicine, our unique plant-based formula is anti-itch, deeply moisturising and great for stopping a flare up dead in its tracks. 

And the best part? It’s steroid, paraben and sulphate free :)

2. Avoid unconscious scratching 

Every night at 8pm, lick clockwork, you start scratching. Sound familiar? We’re sure it does to many of you. But have you ever considered if you’re actually itchy? 

Unconscious scratching is more common than you think and is where the action has become so ingrained into the fabric of your life, that you don’t even realise you’re doing it anymore. How can your skin ever recover when you’re constantly breaking it open? 

Our top tip here is to try a technique called habit reversal. 

It works like this - around the time you know you always start itching (like bedtime) grab a stress ball and instead of scratching, start squeezing! Until you’re red in the face. 

Sounds crazy, right? Trust us, it might just help you break that downward scratching cycle. 

3. Prioritise your own mental well-being

Stop, relax, rest, breathe. 

You HAVE to find time to look after your own mental well-being if you’re suffering from a stress rash, eczema or anything in between. 

We like to suggest meditation and mindfulness as great tools to help with this. Jump over to our social pages @yanyeeskincare to find out more. 

4. Avoid triggers 

You read above a short list of triggers that contribute to a stress rash and if you’re one of the lucky ones that also suffer from eczema or psoriasis, there’s a heck of a lot more to consider. 

We know it can be tough to find out what your triggers are in the first place (think patch test or elimination diet to help yourself here) but when you do discover them, avoid ‘em! Like the plague. 

When should you see a doctor? 

If the bumps you see on your skin begin to become hard or filled with pus, then it might be time to see a doctor. 

A few other warning signs associated with a stress rash which should prompt you to seek medical attention are: 

- A rash over your whole body

- A fever

- Blisters that leak yellow fluid

- Pain

Final word

Stress is an inevitable part of life for all of us. But how much we let it affect our well-being, and our skin, really comes down to how much we decide to attach ourselves to it. 

Hopefully some of the tips we laid out above can help you get back on track :)

What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know!

With care,

The yan-yee team


- Managing stress can help people improve their skin conditions. (2011). Link

- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behaviour. Link
- Rash 101 in adults: When to seek treatment. (n.d.). Link 

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