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.
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.
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. 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) affect 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.
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 hours before bed time
- 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.
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 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.
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 without having to sacrifice the health of their skin or bodies.
This is the most important when dealing with the question of: can hormones cause itchy skin and eczema?
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.”