The Connection Between Eczema, Hormonal Itchy Skin and Stress
Eczema sufferers: have you ever noticed when you’re stressed or particularly hormonal, your dry, itchy skin symptoms flare up? Maybe you notice these changes right before a big job interview, during the holiday season, or (if you’re a woman) during your menstrual cycle.
These unpleasant symptoms are actually more common than you may think.
Our skin is a great indicator of our overall health. As the body’s largest organ, it is responsible for regulating body temperature and fluids, aiding in detoxification, and indicating additional health issues. Hormonal changes are often indicated by increased inflammation, which can have a negative impact on your skin.
Treatment for eczema and itchy skin can range from supplements to moisturizing creams and lotions. Epiphany Eksem Therapeutic Moisturizing Body Cream is especially effective at relieving symptoms of skin itchiness due to hormonal fluctuations.
What can be done about chronic hormonal itchy skin and eczema? Read on to learn what you can do to help calm severely dry, itchy, and flaky skin.
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The Relationship between Hormones and Eczema
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of adults and children (American Academy of Dermatology). People who suffer from eczema have a damaged skin barrier, which makes their skin more susceptible to irritation.
If a person with eczema comes in contact with an environmental or hormonal trigger, he can develop patches of red, dry, and itchy skin.
Other eczema triggers include:
- Exposure to extreme climates that may be too hot, cold, dry, or humid.
- Taking long hot showers or baths.
- Skin infections, including those caused by the herpes virus (fever blisters and cold sores), staphylococcus aureus, and fungi (ringworm, athlete’s foot).
- Contact with allergens. Common ones include pollen, dust, mites, dander from pets, mold, and dandruff.
- High levels of stress.
While there is still no known cure for eczema, we do know that there are a few hormonal triggers that can cause a flare-up of its symptoms.
People often experience hormone changes during their menstrual cycle, Menopause, pregnancy, from autoimmune diseases like Lupus, or age-related conditions. In any case, hormonal itchy skin can seem to come out of nowhere and hang out for way too long.
It may or may not include other symptoms, such as:
- Dry skin.
- A rash.
- Red skin.
- Small surface bumps.
Understanding the hormones that could be triggering flare ups can help you treat symptoms.
Progesterone, Estrogen and Hormonal Itching
Progesterone and estrogen levels have a big impact on overall skin health and its condition. The skin has many estrogen and progesterone receptors, so when hormone levels fluctuate, our skin will react.
These hormones (particularly estrogen) affects the skin’s oil production, skin thickness, skin hydration, and barrier function. As you remember, improper barrier function is connected to eczema. Hormone changes irritate the damaged skin barrier even more.
Estrogen drops during the premenstrual period of a woman’s cycle, as well as after pregnancy and during menopause. Decreased estrogen levels rob the skin of moisture.
The hormone change also leads to an increase in bacteria in the body. The body’s natural wound healing abilities are less effective, too.
These differences are often severe enough to be noticeable to anyone experiencing them, particularly if they are accompanied with feelings of itchiness or skin irritation.
People with eczema will feel these changes more strongly, and flare-ups often occur during these hormone fluctuations.
Stress Hormones and Eczema
When we experience stress, our cortisol and adrenaline levels increase, preparing our body for that fight-or-flight response. These fluctuations can have a direct effect on the skin barrier.
These changes in hormone levels are normal. You generally won’t see a problem when hormones fluctuate once in a while. But for those who have chronic emotional stress, you will see a more dramatic change in immunity, gut health, and skin health.
When your body is in a state of stress, it triggers a response of its inflammatory system. Within the skin, inflammation manifests as an itching sensation. This is why people with eczema often notice their symptoms worsen when their hormones are imbalanced or they feel stressed.
People with eczema may start to feel a rash or itchy skin pop up on their arms, chest, back neck, and other sensitive areas. We call this hormonal itchy skin, or hormone imbalance itching. In addition to dryness, the hormone fluctuation can impact the skin’s ability to repair itself. The skin also becomes more susceptible to airborne pathogens and infection.
Hormonal and Environmental Stress Triggers
Common triggers that many people with this condition experience are frequent increases in hormones caused by emotional stress, lack of sleep, diet intolerances, or other behaviors that can throw off hormones.
Frequent flare-ups can disrupt sleep and cause additional emotional stress. As we know, stress and lack of sleep can further lead to poor diet choices, increase in caffeine consumption, and other destructive habits. These habits could increase hormonal imbalance and discomfort from hormonal itchy skin.
Stress can also make us more irritable, which can lead to nervous scratching. Unfortunately, scratching the skin makes it more susceptible to infection, which can trigger even more inflammation.
Thus, a vicious cycle of worsening eczema symptoms can result from emotional stress, especially when this stress is chronic, meaning that it occurs for long periods of time (Acta Dermato-Venereologica).
So, can hormones cause itchy skin and eczema? Absolutely.
Tips for Coping with Stress
Because chronic stress can be so detrimental to the skin, as well as the entire body, one of the first steps that you can take to help alleviate stress-related eczema symptoms is to try to better manage your stress.
Some methods to try include:
- Practice breathing exercises
- Practice meditation
- Practice low-impact exercise to balance hormones naturally
- “Unplug” from electronic devices 1 hour before bedtime
- Listen to soothing music
- Spend time in nature
- Take a bath or shower
- Confide in a trusted friend or family member
Hormones Can Cause Itchy Skin and Eczema. Here’s How To Deal With it.
Before diving into a harsh, pharmaceutical medications to treat itchy skin and eczema related to hormone levels, it’s important to understand that many of these symptoms can be lessened or eliminated by home treatments and lifestyle changes.
If you are experiencing this type of itchiness, you may want to consider the following options to reduce the likelihood of experiencing extreme itchiness and eczema.
- Ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet rich in natural foods – This step is essential in maintaining healthy skin. Some dietary supplements, such as vitamin C, gamma-linolenic acid, collagen peptides, and omega-3 fatty acids, have beneficial effects on the skin.
- Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of water is crucial for keeping skin moisturized and refreshed.
- Get plenty of rest – This reduces stress and helps your skin get time to heal and repair itself as necessary.
- Wear sunscreen – To prevent skin damage from harmful UVs. Sun exposure can also worsen already-irritated or sensitive skin.
- Avoid temperature extremes, when possible – This includes avoiding hot baths and showers. A lukewarm bath is much preferable for soothing irritable skin.
- Take an oatmeal bath – Colloidal oatmeal relieves itchy skin. When suspended in water, the skin is able to absorb the cellulose and fiber from the oats easily, which soothes irritated skin.
- Moisturize regularly – Moisturizing daily, and especially after a bath or shower, can lock moisture in your outermost layer of skin, which can alleviate any dryness associated with itching.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and perfumes – Chemicals that may be found in products that are part of your personal care routine or are used for cleaning clothing and your home can often irritate skin and cause itchiness. Look for cleaners that use natural ingredients or are free of the chemicals that can irritate skin.
- Herbal supplements – Herbal supplements, such as dong quai, can act as phytoestrogens in the body and can replace the loss of estrogen that is commonly experienced during menopause for a short duration. Other herbal supplements, such as maca root, can encourage the increased natural production of hormones in the body.
- Avoid scratching – Even though that itch may be driving you crazy, you must avoid the urge to scratch it since scratching can tear or damage already-sensitive or inflamed skin. It is also best to pat yourself dry after a bath or shower to minimize rubbing and friction.
- Wear loose, natural fabrics – We come into contact with fabric for the overwhelming majority of any day. For this reason, loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers (such as cotton), are much less likely to irritate the skin than synthetic fibers that are tight on the skin.
In addition to reducing stress to minimize eczema flare-ups, consider taking a closer look at the current treatments you’re using to fight dry, itchy skin.
Many topical creams and ointments that are considered standard treatments contain steroids, which can thin your skin and further weaken its outer protective barrier (Indian Journal of Dermatology).
Oral drugs for eczema are not generally cost-effective whatsoever and can also come along with lots of scary side effects. This is very concerning for all patients, but especially those who may be experiencing itchiness due to hormonal fluctuations experienced during pregnancy or for adolescents who are still developing.
If you’re searching for a safe and effective solution for dry, itchy, and flaky skin, it might be time to try a new approach.
Choose Natural, Effective Topical Treatments
Eksem Moisturizing Body Cream has been designed for this exact purpose. This all-natural moisturizing body cream helps people find relief from their eczema symptoms and from hormonal fluctuations without having to sacrifice the health of their skin or bodies.
This cream can be used to soothe anyone suffering from eczema, pregnancy, menopause, or any other hormone-related skin irritations. Further, it accomplishes this soothing of the skin without exposing you to pharmaceutical options that come with a host of potentially detrimental side effects. Our product is safe, effective and natural – meaning that it is one of the best remedies available to address your skin itchiness and irritation.
This is the most important when dealing with the question of: can hormones cause itchy skin and eczema?
What Our Customers Are Saying
One customer, Gina, who swears by Eksem for her eczema shared her story with us in the hope of reaching others who struggle with their dry, itchy skin in a similar way.
Before Eksem, Gina experienced poor and irregular sleep. The consistent itch kept her up at night. Despite her searching, he struggled to find anything that alleviated the itching. Her inevitable scratching left her with scars.
“After years of suffering with the terrible itching and redness,” she says, “I finally found a product that works for eczema. Eksem Moisturizing Body Cream … I have had eczema for 30 years, and it has been primarily on my legs. The very worst of the condition has been horrible itching, most notably through the night.
Almost immediately after applying Eksem, the itching subsided. Immediate means the first day! I applied the cream 3 to 5 times per day for the first week, and then reduced to 2 to 3 times per day.
All of my symptoms quickly subsided, and then disappeared. I still apply to avoid the return of eczema and I credit this with keeping me symptom-free! Symptom-free from eczema for the first time in 30 years! Recently, I heard about the new $37,000 per year drug for eczema. Once I got my mind past the price, then the side-effects, I found out it takes 12 weeks to work. Eksem gave me immediate relief, so why bother? I still have my scars to remind me how things used to be before Eksem. I’m glad those days are gone.”
About the Authors
William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.
Dr. Gil Price
Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.