The answer is yes.
Stress is turning on the switches in your genes and it’s expressing itself as? Yup, eczema.
For some, it’s migraines. For others, it’s something else.
So why does stress cause eczema?
Well, your body is trying to let go of that energy.
It’s trying to deal with a stressful situation.
For us eczema warriors, it’s releasing the stress-energy through our skin. Through itching. Through inflammation.
This then becomes a vicious cycle of stressing about eczema. And then you itch. Which leads to more eczema.
“Well then, what can I do?”
You need to create certainty in these uncertain times.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you meditate like all these wellness bloggers out here.
Create Certainty in These Uncertain Times
So, what do I mean by that?
When the next several months are meant to be rocky, you need to create some sort of certainty within yourself and your surrounding environment.
When going through topical steroid withdrawal, I knew the next 6 to 12 months were going to be brutal. The symptom length would vary from person to person.
The symptoms themselves are extremely uncomfortable and debilitating, mentally and physically.
I didn’t know how long these symptoms would last and if it would get worse or not.
Sometimes, I would have good days and bad days. But I could never predict them.
Some days, my skin would look horrible but internally I felt okay.
Some days, I felt like absolute shit, but my skin looked okay.
I then realized, because I couldn’t predict the day-to-day over the course of the next few months, I had to create some sort of certainty to get through this next uphill battle.
Because I was creating a routine I could rely on, I was essentially helping myself stress less.
What did I do?
I created a routine to help my mind and body below. Here’s what I did:
- Foot baths with apple cider vinegar and warm water to help with the oozing, weeping eczema
- Body baths with dead sea salt and warm water to help with healing, inflammation, oozing and weeping
- Taking 20-30mins to myself to relax, read, play games, listen to music during these baths
After the soak, I actually felt a little better about my situation and my hope for healing.
My skin felt better. My mind felt a little calmer. My body felt better.
This routine soon became the certainty I needed.
I could rely on this routine I created, no matter the good or bad days, and I would certainly feel at least 1% better than I was before.
I did things that gave me joy while I took care of myself on the sidelines.
Find comfort in the chaos
This can be tricky and it still is for me.
TSW is chaotic. Mixed of severe symptoms coupled with frustration, anger, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression.
But I soon realized, no matter how much I wanted relief, it never came right away.
Antihistamines took 30 mins to kick in and some days it didn’t work. I relied on it to stop the intense bone-deep itches and for sleep.
The natural creams I tried didn’t give me relief right away either.
I had to grind out the uncomfortable. Every. Single. Day.
No matter how tired I was, I would always wake up at 2 am/3 am for an intense itch session.
If I scratched one spot, I would itch everywhere. It may even ooze and get infected.
After showering, was another intense itch session to be dealt with.
What did I do?
Rather than trying to sleep and itch my way through sleep, I either just got out of bed around that time and kept myself busy with TV shows, movies, and video games. I found comfort in all-nighters.
When I did go to sleep, I always slept in the same position that I could depend on my skin.
I found comfort in this sleep position.
My post showers consisted of blasting a fan in my direction, Netflix and or Clash Royale (a fun game that you need to focus which forced me to forget about my itching), or even video games.
Because I couldn’t control these symptoms and predict them, the only things I could control were things that could give me comfort. It gave me certainty.
Create a process
I created a process for myself as I slowly started to get better and went back to work part-time.
I couldn’t wait for TSW to heal on its own. How long would I wait?
I was itching (pun intended!) to get back to my normal life and feel good again. I couldn’t wait on the sidelines any longer.
What did I do?
- I started researching what supplements would be beneficial for my skin and body to heal.
- I took vitamins C and D with breakfast for healing and inflammation
- Probiotics at lunch to improve my gut health
- Omega 3 plant-based oil at lunch to help with inflammation
- Dead sea salt bath a few times a week to help my skin and mind
- Soaking my feet in apple cider vinegar and warm water for about 3 months until my feet were no longer oozing and swelling. I did this almost every day after work
Make your calendar
Remembering to do all this on top of everyday life can be challenging.
You can tend to forget to do these things, or at least I did because eczema-related thoughts were always running around in my head.
I knew I had to stick to these habits in order to help my body heal. It’s easy to brush these off when you aren’t feeling your best. Which is almost every day when you are dealing with TSW or severe eczema.
You go easy on yourself for not feeling too well and you push it off until tomorrow.
Some things shouldn’t be pushed off, like taking care of yourself. It’s even harder when you can’t see instant progress when you are performing healthy habits.
You need to build momentum before it snowballs.
What did I do?
- I scheduled what I needed to do in my calendar
- I set up timely reminders to get notified on my phone that it’s time to get my supplements.
- I used a habit-tracking app to keep myself motivated
- So once I saw that graph go up and up, I didn’t want to break my progress.
- I strategically placed my supplements in a direct line of sight so I wouldn’t forget.
- I also turned my dead sea salt bath sessions into me time
Once I got the hang of my new process, no matter the good or bad days, I did it.
It was especially motivating to take my supplements and do my healthy habits on the bad days.
Why? Because I knew this very process would minimize the bad skin days down the road.
I just had to be patient and get comfortable in the chaos by creating certainty around my daily activities.
Ask Yourself, Why Does Stress Cause Eczema For Me?
This is the million-dollar question.
What are you stressing about?
What are you not letting go that it’s manifesting as eczema?
There is no doubt that eczema could be caused by your genes, environment, food, and more.
But what else are you stressing about that is aggravating your eczema more?
It could be the fact that you have eczema. And that’s okay.
Now you can work through it with a Mental Health Professional.
So, think again, does stress cause eczema?
The answer is still yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.
You need to create your foundation, your routine, and your go-to habits, to help you ease the stress.
This can all be overwhelming.
It’s a lot of work.
But you don’t need to do it all on your own.
After my long journey with eczema and topical steroid withdrawal, I went back to school to become a Skin Health Coach.
I have the first-hand experience of living through them and now combined with the knowledge on how to heal the skin.
Out of this, the XZMA Healing Program was born.
Let me help you heal.
I know you want to heal.
That’s why you’ve read this far.
Everything Eczema was created by Kishok (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, 2023) to help the millions of people around the world who are suffering from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). Our goal is to educate and empower you on how to manage your eczema so you can live your greatest life!Learn more