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12 Skin Conditions Stress Can Aggravate

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Via Pexels, edited by Kaitlyn Thompson

If work has been chaotic or some disaster, like the death of a family member, has happened recently, don’t be too surprised if your face starts to break out shortly after the fact.

Stress is an underlying factor that leads to or aggravates many medical conditions, even if it’s not the root cause. The same applies to a variety of skin conditions.

Here are 12 skin conditions that can be linked to stress. For further information, you can also read my second article about the connection between stress and skin conditions, "Can Stress Cause Skin Problems?"

1) Acne

Acne is not caused by stress, according to Medline Plus. However, it can be irritated further by stress. This condition is characterized by pimples on the face, back, neck shoulders and chest.

2) Dry skin

High levels of the hormone cortisol can cause problems with water retention in skin, leading to dry skin, a Prevention article reports.

3) Rosacea

Rosacea is a long-term condition involving redness of mainly facial skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Stress and anxiety are known to be triggers.

4) Atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema with symptoms of dry, itchy and inflamed skin, the National Eczema Association says. Rashes and sores may also appear. Emotional stress can be a trigger.

5) Psoriasis
Psoriasis is characterized by red, scaly, itchy and raised patches found anywhere on the body, according to MedlinePlus. Flare-ups can be caused by stress.

6) Seborrheic dermatitis

If you have flaky scales on your skin that are white or yellow, you probably have seborrheic dermatitis, states Medline Plus. Stress and fatigue are risk factors.

7) Hives

Chronic urticaria, or hives, are welts that are itchy, swollen and red, according to Medline Plus. This condition can get worse with stress.

8) Warts

Warts are fairly common skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s McKinley Health Center reports. A weak immune system combined with stress can allow warts to pop up more often.

9) Cold Sores

Herpes simplex is a virus that causes oral herpes, also known as fever blisters or cold sores, says the American Academy of Dermatology. These sores are confined to the lips and surrounding areas. They are small lesions full of fluid that become crusty after breaking. Blisters tend to show up during stressful times.

10) Wrinkles or aging skin

Although it may seem like an old wives’ tale, stress has been linked to aging in the skin (which could mean wrinkles), according to MedicineNet.

11) Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis is another one of eight main types of eczema, the National Eczema Association says. Its main symptoms are itchiness and scaly, thick patches.

12) Prurigo Nodularis

If you thought pimples were bad, you'll really hate this one. Sufferers of prurigo nodularis have to deal with hard, small lumps that are both itchy and crusty.


MedlinePlus. Acne. Web. August 17, 2014.

Prevention. Drake, Laurie. Worried? It Shows. Web. August 17, 2014.

American Academy of Dermatology. Web. August 20, 2014. Rosacea. (signs and symptoms; tips for managing)

National Eczema Association. Atopic Dermatitis. Web. August 17, 2014.

Medline Plus. Psoriasis. Web. August 20, 2014.

Medline Plus. Seborrheic dermatitis. Web. August 17, 2014.

Medline Plus. Hives. Web. August 20, 2014.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. McKinley Health Center. Warts. Web. August 17, 2014.

American Academy of Dermatology. Herpes simplex. Web. August 20, 2014.
http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/herpes-simplex (tips for managing)

MedicineNet.com. Stress Q&A. Web. August 17, 2014.

National Eczema Association. Neurodermatitis. Web. August 17, 2014.

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Prurigo Nodularis. Web. August 17, 2014.

Reviewed August 22, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.