Skin rashes are abnormal changes in skin color, texture, or appearance that can affect a localized area or occur all over the body.
Stress Rash Signs & Symptoms
In some people, stress can cause red, itchy skin hives. A stress rash is a term used to describe raised red bumps (hives) that are triggered by stress. In people who have a pre-existing skin condition such as eczema, acne, or psoriasis, stress can worsen these conditions.
A stress rash (stress hives) can affect any part of the body but commonly appear on the face, neck, chest, or arms. A stress rash can look like:
- Bug bites
- Appears initials as individual bumps, welts, or wheals, but can also appear irregular in shape and join together in larger clusters or patches
- In severe cases, they may look like a single large patch of puffy, raised skin
- Other symptoms of a stress rash may include:
- Burning sensation
Sometimes, what people think is a stress rash is caused by something else. If stress rashes occur frequently, see a doctor to help determine if there is another cause.
What Causes Stress Rash?
Stress can cause hives that appear as a rash. Chronic or frequent psychological, emotional, or physical stressors can cause some people to develop a rash.
A stress rash frequently affects people with underlying skin conditions, such as:
How Are Stress Rashes Diagnosed?
Stress rashes (stress hives) are diagnosed with a history and physical examination of the skin.
If the cause of a rash is suspected to be stress, no further testing is usually needed. If there is another suspected underlying cause for the rash/hives, tests that may be used to determine the type of rash and/or the cause include:
How Do You Prevent Stress Rash?
Managing stress can often prevent stress rash. Some tips to manage stress include:
What Is the Treatment for Stress Rash?
Most of the time, stress rash (stress hives) go away on their own within a day or so.
Home treatment for the symptoms of hives includes:
- Topical treatments for itching
- Don’t scratch the rash
- This can make it worse and can spread bacteria through tiny scrapes in the skin, causing infection
See a doctor if the rash does not go away on its own within a week or symptoms worsen. Call 911 and see a doctor right away if you have a stress rash and:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the throat or lips swell up
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