What Does A Stress Rash Look Like & How To Treat It

What Does A Stress Rash Look Like & How To Treat It

Can you get a rash from stress? Surprisingly, yes. 

A stress rash not only makes for an unsightly appearance, but it also may cause itching or burning skin. However, if you are experiencing stress rash symptoms, there are a few things you can do. This article takes a closer look at what a stress rash is, what causes it, how to treat it, and how to avoid it altogether.

What Is a Stress Rash? 

A stress rash creates a skin reaction called hives. These are raised and discoloured bumps or welts. While any skin rash is frustrating and irritating, a stress-related rash may add on more layers of stress. This can create a vicious cycle where you become more stressed and the rash may get worse. 

Luckily, there are many things you can do about it. Before we get types of treatment for a stress rash, let’s examine what this kind of rash looks like more closely and why it happens.

What Does a Stress Rash Look Like?

A stress rash appears as hives on the skin, which can be confusing as hives are also frequently caused by allergic reactions. Hives also go hand-in-hand with common skin rashes associated with heat rash, pityriasis rosea, rosacea, contact dermatitis, and eczema. 

Bumps caused by a stress rash are raised, warm-to-touch, and usually itchy. The size of these bumps can range greatly, with some as small as a penpoint and others as big as a cup or plate. At the same time, these hives may come and go. Often, these hives are located on the face, neck, chest, or arms, with the most common types of stress rashes being located on the face or neck.

Stress Rash on Face

On the face, a stress rash often appears more blotchy and red. Yet, they often do retain the raised bumps that appear elsewhere on the body. In this area, they can also easily be mistaken for bug bites. 

Stress Rash on Neck 

A stress rash on the neck produces similar symptoms. However, since this is an easy place to scratch, you may notice widespread redness and irritation after itching.

What Causes a Stress Rash?

Stress rashes are most common in those with already existing skin conditions, such as eczema or rosacea. Yet, they can also occur in those without prior skin conditions. 

Hives from stress happen when there is increased inflammation in the body, which can be due to various reasons such as:

  • A major life event or transition
  • Overexercising
  • Smoking or quitting smoking
  • Making a drastic change to your diet
  • Anxiety due to personal events in your life
  • A lack of sleep
  • Death of a loved one

Other individuals that are more likely to experience a stress rash are those that suffer from mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. 

How Long Does a Stress Rash Last?

Symptoms of a stress rash typically ease off within a matter of hours or days. The problem usually is that with persistent stress, the rash returns. For some individuals, this can be ongoing for up to six weeks.

For reducing the length of time a stress rash lasts, it is best to avoid scratching as this can actually make it much worse or lead to infection.

Stress Rash Treatment

While a stress rash typically resolves on its own, there are a few things you can do to speed things along. The easiest route is taking antihistamines and allergy medicines, which can help relieve itching and swelling. 

Additionally, other over-the-counter medications for a stress rash may include calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream. In the meantime, using gentle moisturizers or lotions, such as CeraVe, on the skin may avoid further irritation.

Lastly, lowering your stress is key, which we explore in more detail in the following section along with how to prevent a stress rash.

How to Manage Stress to Avoid Rash

Since a stress rash is caused by stress, the best thing you can do is lower your stress levels. This can help you resolve your stress rash as well as avoid future or returning rashes. A few stress management techniques you may want to try include:

  • Practicing meditation
  • Performing deep breathing techniques
  • Doing yoga
  • Participating in regular exercise
  • Ensuring you eat a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night
  • Creating space and time to perform hobbies or activities you enjoy

Home Remedies for Stress Rash

There are many ways to relieve your stress rash at home using what you have. Some of the best ways to do this include:

  • Using a cold pack on the affected area to ease symptoms
  • Bathing in a milk or oatmeal bath
  • Opting for fragrance-free lotions
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Maintaining proper hydration
  • Avoiding hot showers or baths
  • Limiting or avoiding tight clothes that may irritate your rash

Stress Rash FAQs 

For more regarding your stress rash or anxiety rash, check out the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

When should I be concerned about a stress rash?

Generally, most stress rashes can be treated at home. However, if you have difficulty going about your daily activities or tasks, have increased difficulty sleeping, or develop a fever, visit your doctor. They can help you determine the proper course of treatment, getting you back to feeling your best.

What is an anxiety rash?

An anxiety rash is the same thing as a stress rash, just with a different name.

Why am I suddenly getting stress rashes? 

A stress rash can come on suddenly during times of heightened anxiety or stress. This happens due to the sudden fluctuation of hormones that lead to changes in blood vessels and cause issues with the skin.

Are stress rashes normal? 

Stress rashes are very common, especially during tough times in life (which we all face!). Millions of people worldwide experience stress rashes from time-to-time.

Can you get hives from stress? 

Yes! This is what is known as a stress rash. However, if you have allergies or other skin conditions, it may be worthwhile to determine if these could be the causes so that you can treat it accordingly. 

With McCauley Pharmacy, we strive to help you with any health issue you face, including stress rashes, skin conditions, or allergic reactions. With our online pharmacy, you can find whatever you need including antihistamines and allergy products to help tackle your stress rash once and for all.


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