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How to Get Rid of a Stress Rash and What Else It Could Be

writtenByWritten by: Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewed by Leann Poston, M.D. Reviewed by Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D.

Leann Poston, M.D.

Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.

November 21, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

What is a Stress Rash?

Do you find yourself itching like crazy when life gets a little hectic? You could be dealing with a stress rash. While a stress rash usually isn’t a severe problem, it can still feel like a significant disruption to your life. 

This article will inform you how to identify and eliminate a stress rash and treat the rash’s cause. 

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Can You Get a Rash from Stress?

Yes, stress can cause rashes. This is because stress causes your body to release chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals can trigger many responses, including rashes and hives.

What Else Could It Be?

Allergic reactions are the most common cause of stress rashes. 

Common allergens include:

  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Seafood
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Medications

Rashes can also be symptoms of many medical conditions. If your rash doesn’t clear up within a few days, talk to a doctor to rule out something potentially serious. While PlushCare does not provide access to dermatologists, we can refer you to a specialist. 

What Does Stress Rash Look Like?

Usually, a stress rash consists of itchy red bumps called hives. 

A hive can be as tiny as a pencil tip or as big as a dinner plate. Hives tend to occur in clusters and, while they can appear anywhere on the body, are most common on the neck, face, arms, or chest. While they’re usually itchy, hives may also cause a burning or tingling sensation.

Stress Rash Pictures

Could your rash be a stress rash? Here are some stress rash pictures to give you a better idea about whether your red, itchy skin could be a stress rash.

Stress Rash on Face

stress rash on face

hives.org

Stress Hand On Rash

hives.org

Stress Rash on Neck

hives.org

Stress Rash on Arm

hives.org

Stress Rash on Chest

hives.org

Stress Rash on Leg

hives.org

Stress Rash Hives

Is Stress Rash Contagious?

No, stress rashes are not contagious. You will not contract them by touching someone with this rash. They only affect the person struggling with stress. They often look like hives and can occur on any part of the body.

How Do You Get Rid of a Stress Rash?

The best way to treat a stress rash is typically with over-the-counter antihistamines like:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec).

You can also relieve itching and swelling with a cold compress or hydrocortisone cream.

If you have persistent or recurring stress rashes, you may benefit from therapy to help you learn how to manage your stress better. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, may help manage your symptoms. CBT tackles both your thoughts and behaviors for a comprehensive approach to improving your mental health.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Stress Rashes Common?

Yes. Most people will experience stress at some point in their lives, and stress rashes are a common symptom of stress. Stress can cause a chemical response in the body which can cause a rash to occur. In addition, some underlying conditions can also cause rashes that may be made worse with stress. 

These conditions include:


Related: Psoriasis vs Eczema


Can Anxiety Cause Rashes?

Yes, anxiety stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, your fight or flight nervous system, which causes the release of chemicals in your body. These chemicals can increase inflammation, causing a rash.

Is There Such a Thing as a Depression Stress Rash?

It is not easy to isolate symptoms such as depression and anxiety, as they often coexist. People who are experiencing depressive systems may feel stressed and anxious, causing a rash.

How Do You Treat an Itchy Stress Rash?

Over-the-counter antihistamines are usually the best way to treat stress rashes. However, cool compresses and hydrocortisone creams may help, too. 

Top over the counter antihistamines for a stress rash are: 

  • Benadryl
  • Zyrtec
  • Allegra
  • Claritin 

If you aren’t getting enough relief from these methods, you may want to speak to a doctor about other options.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Stress Rash Treatment

If over-the-counter antihistamines and hydrocortisone cream aren’t giving you enough relief from your stress rash, you might want to talk to a doctor about other treatment options. With PlushCare, you can have an online video appointment and save yourself a trip to a doctor’s office.

After talking with one of our licensed doctors and telling them about your symptoms, medical history, and medications, the doctor will discuss potential treatment options with you. If necessary, they can refer you to a dermatologist specializing in rashes. If you have chronic stress hives, therapy may help you learn how to better handle your stress, which may help eliminate or prevent stress rashes. 

PlushCare now provides online therapy; our licensed therapists can help teach you ways to manage your stress more successfully. To make an online appointment with a therapist, click here. You can also get a free consultation by calling 1-800-221-5140 or emailing [email protected]


Read More About Stress Rashes and Stress Hives


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Allina Health. Stress rash on skin: Symptoms, causes, and prevention. Accessed on December 10, 2020, at https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/heal/stress-rash-on-skin-symptoms-causes-and-prevention

The American Institute of Stress. What to Do When Stress Gives You Hives. Accessed on December 10, 2020, at https://www.stress.org/what-to-do-when-stress-gives-you-hives

Scripps. Can Stress Cause Rashes? Accessed on December 10, 2020, at https://www.scripps.org/news_items/6955-can-stress-cause-rashes

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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