Two types of stress that aggravate or worsen your eczema and dermatitis?
How internal and external stresses affect your eczema
Improving your eczema starts with building resolve. By taking charge of your mindset, approach, and strategy, you’ll be able to effectively manage your skin condition. Everyone’s dermatitis expresses uniquely. Differences in genetic makeup, lifestyle, body care habits, location, and stress levels all factor into the frequency and severity of your flare-ups.
Broadly speaking, factors that impact dermatitis can be categorized into internal and external. Internal factors include levels of stress, expression of inherited genes, and diet. External factors include geographic location, pollution, weather changes, and contact triggers. Improving internal resilience against flare-ups requires building up your immune system. External tactics for reducing flare-ups come from awareness and avoidance of triggering substances, as well as applying topical treatments that support the skin’s healing.
Depending on the time and energy you have to tackling the health of your skin, getting to the root of the problem isn’t always the easiest. It might mean a systematic review of everything you do. Sorting through your bedtime routine to questioning your consumption of certain foods can be an overwhelming undertaking. Initially, the exploration might not yield actionable results. So, while tackling eczema through external methods isn’t the whole picture, it can be an approachable place to start. And, if there are benefits, you’ll experience greater mental wellness, which feeds into a lower-stress overall state.
The relationship between stress and eczema
Encountering stressful situations kicks the body into action. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises, and your body releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones in response. Adrenaline triggers the body to provide muscles with more oxygen and redirect blood to major muscle groups like heart and lungs. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. When you have eczema, the price of that vital and beneficial stress-response is a flare-up. When this produces additional stress or prolongs the stressful state, you’ll feel inflammation in your body as eczema symptoms.
Now, imagine a situation where eczema flare-ups happened every hour. This is a real situation that afflicts many people in the world. It would be like trying to sleep while an ambulance siren blared relentlessly through the night. The body enters a prolonged state of stress, rising overall inflammation levels. This wears down your reserves, making you even more prone to flare-ups. Sometimes, this leads to a spiral of worsening reactions.
When surprise challenges hit us, such as an unexpected tragedy, work-related trauma, or personal disappointment, the root cause can’t always be fixed quickly. That’s why starting from the easier approach—outside to inside—isn’t a cop-out for treating your skin condition, but rather a wise coping mechanism until you can allocate time to self-care.
Starting with external strategies for treating eczema
At any point where there is a flare-up, instant attention is best. The skin’s redness, itching, and discomfort should not be left to fester and create a mental burden. We become vulnerable to downward spirals on our health and happiness when problems are ignored.
Though tackling the roots of our body’s immune responses is a better long-term strategy, it is a daunting task. We find it easier to reach our goals when they’re broken down into smaller steps. Start with a routine. Sticking to it, in times both good and bad, grounds you. It’s an opportunity to practise self-care, especially when it’s difficult. Tough times mess up our usual routine, putting us into mental overdrive. An autopilot body care routine is a simple way to calm those charged emotions and spinning thoughts.
Building a pre-sleep routine is the best way to tackle both your internal need to destress and your skin’s external condition.
- One to two hours before your bedtime, start the steps toward relaxation. Reading, gentle stretching, a warm bath, turning off social media, listening to music, or talking a wind-down walk away from your devices.
- In your evening shower, gently massage your muscles with your fingers or a tool like a Gua Sha. If your skin can tolerate natural fragrances, use one that gives you a feeling of peace, like our spa-like La Rose. If fragrance-free is more your vibe, use the foams to gently massage your skin, tackling lymph nodes, pressure points, and sore joints.
- Before bed, apply moisturizer to deeply hydrate and soothe your skin. This second round of massages, applied just before sleep, reinforces the message that rest is important, necessary and desirable.
By encouraging relaxation, your inflammatory response is decreased. You’ll also have a chance to drag your mind away from the daily thoughts that keep you up. As you come to lean on this routine, you will find creative ways to apply its principles to other moments in your day, such as your morning, lunch break, or afternoon walk. Take these steps and work your way toward a better feeling in your body and mind.
McQueen, J. (2022, February 22). Hormones and Eczema: What's the Link? WebMD. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/eczema_hormones_link**Cite**