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A scientific study looked at how emotions and stress can affect eczema symptoms. It may help us understand why more research is needed and how this knowledge can help those living with eczema.

  • Eczema, a common skin problem, can get worse with stress.
  • How you cope with stress can change how it affects your eczema.
  • Feelings of depression, anger, and frustration can also affect eczema.
  • Learning about eczema and stress management may help improve eczema symptoms.

What Is Eczema and How Can Our Emotions Affect It?

Eczema is a long-term skin problem that affects many people, making the skin dry and itchy. It can also disrupt sleep and make people feel embarrassed, affecting their quality of life. Things like allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) and skin irritants can also make eczema worse. 

In addition, a study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that social and psychosocial factors, such as stress, emotional health, and mental health, may have a profound impact on the severity of atopic dermatitis symptoms. Eczema patients who have good psychosocial support and who learn about the condition may have less severe symptoms. This is true for both kids and adults, which is why it’s important to understand how our feelings and social life can affect eczema.

What Did the Study Find About Emotions and Eczema?

The study looked at how different social and emotional factors affect the severity of eczema symptoms. Stress was a major factor, with many studies suggesting it makes eczema worse. 

The way you deal with stress can change how much stress affects your eczema. Other emotions, like depression, anger, frustration, and even our mindset towards our illness, can also make eczema symptoms worse. But, the study found mixed results for things like anxiety, security in relationships, and social status.

All the studies that looked at stress showed that it was linked with worse eczema symptoms. Some studies also suggested that stress might make eczema worse over time. The current research suggests that stress might cause eczema symptoms to get worse, which could create a cycle where stress causes eczema to flare-up, and the flare-ups cause more stress. 

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What Does This Mean for People With Eczema?

This study found little published research on psychosocial factors other than stress that may contribute to eczema severity. More research on factors other than stress, especially those that might help lessen the impact of stress, is needed. Understanding how stress and other factors work together to affect eczema can help us find better ways to manage eczema. In the long run, this could lead to treatments that are tailored to each person and improved health for those living with eczema.

Source: 

Harter, K., Hammel, G., Kirchberger, I., & Traidl-Hoffmann, C. (2021). Social and psychosocial effects on atopic eczema symptom severity – a scoping review of observational studies published from 1989 to 2019. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 35(4), 835–843. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.16950