ZocdocAnswersCan rashes be caused by anxiety?

Question

Can rashes be caused by anxiety?

As a college student, my life can get very stressful. This year, I've noticed a mild rash on my fingers and hands, and it seems to coincide with my midterms and finals. Is it possible that my stress and anxiety is causing the rash?

Answer

College can be a stressful time and for some students it is the first time you get ot see how your body will react to different types of stress. Next time you develop this rash, be sure to schedule an appointment with you primary care physician so he or she can have a look at it. In some cases, your doctor will consult a dermatologist for a second opinion Stress has been associated with the development hives, which is a very pruritic (itchy) type of skin rash. Mental stress increases the amount of corticosteroids released from your adrenal glands which are thought to alter the activity of your immune system. Hives develop after the release of histamine from immune cells in blood vessels near the skin causing swelling, heat, and itching. This can be treated with antihistamines such as diphenhydramine. I will say that it is unusual for them to appear only on your fingers and hands. For this reason, I think it is important that you show your rash to a health care professional next time you develop it. They may be able to formally diagnose you and prescribe treatment or at least give you some advise on how to reduce stress during your finals. Good luck.

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