The feeling of being stressed is a common feeling for us all, with 74% of people feeling overwhelmed due to stress in the last year alone[i]. But when you feel stressed have you ever noticed changes to your skin?
The mind and skin are intrinsically linked, also known as the mind-skin connection[ii]. Stress can be a common trigger for skin flare ups, especially diagnosed itchy skin conditions like eczema.
Research suggests that stress can disrupt the function of the skin’s barrier, which normally protects the skin from harmful substances and loss of moisture. This kind of disruption to the skin is a key factor in many skin conditions.[iii]
Living with symptoms of eczema, like sore, dry skin and an itch which is made worse by scratching can be challenging on our emotional wellbeing. Symptoms can impact sleep, mood and confidence leading to further stress. In a recent National Eczema Society Report 75% of adults claim that eczema has negatively impacted their mental health[iv].
Dermatology Nurse Paula Oliver advises; “With dry skin and eczema, it’s very common for people to find themselves in the ‘itch scratch cycle’. Sometimes the itch gets so bad that we scratch it until it bleeds, which can worsen the skin.”
So how can you break the itch-scratch cycle? Try our top tips to help restore your balance:
- Use non-perfumed products: Nurse Paula Oliver recommends “Use non-perfumed products and apply moisturiser regularly (at least twice a day). If you get the urge to scratch, reach for your moisturiser and apply it in downward strokes – don’t rub or massage it in as this can increase the itch.”
- Take a bath (without bubbles): Taking a bath can release oxytocin, the happy hormone, which helps to relieve stress; however, did you know that bubble bath can cause your skin to flare up further? Try a bath additive that is designed for sensitive and itchy skin.
- Use an emollient that contains Urea: Balneum’s Dry Skin and Itch Relief Cream £12.99 is designed to hydrate and soothe dry, itchy skin. It locks moisture into the skin by replacement of much-needed oils and is proven to relieve the itch within 5 minutes.
- Wear Cotton: “Wool or synthetic fabrics are best avoided so opt for more cotton items of clothing which may be more comfortable.” Paula recommends.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Lack of sleep can impact stress, but if itchy skin keeps you up at night make sure you use a thick cream that helps the skin retain moisture before you go to bed, to avoid it disrupting your sleep.
Stress and Itchy Skin – About Balneum
Balneum is an expert therapeutic skincare range providing end to end skincare for the whole family. Designed with your skincare needs in mind to soothe, hydrate and relieve itchy, dry skin, helping you to live life to the fullest.
The active ingredients provide long-lasting moisturisation and fast-acting itch relief whilst boosting, balancing and restoring natural oils to relieve dry skin.
Stress and Itchy Skin – The Balneum Dry Skin & Itch Relief Cream
Dermatologically tested and clinically proven to relieve itchy skin in 5 minutes or less thanks to its active ingredients, 5% Urea and 3% Lauromacrogols for 24 hour moisturisation and fast acting itch relief.
It deeply hydrates and soothes all types of dry skin, including those prone to eczema and psoriasis, and has been recommended by 86% of Mumsnet Testers. Use twice daily on the affected area.
Stress and Itchy Skin – Balneum Plus Bath Additive
Specially formulated to soothe itchy, dry skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis whilst cleansing the skin. Contains Lauromacrogols, which have a local anaesthetic action to relieve the itch. Contains Soya Oil to hydrate and soften dry skin and forms a protective layer on the skin surface to prevent further drying. Not suitable for those with allergies to soya or peanut.
- [i] Mental health statistics: stress | Mental Health Foundation
- [ii] Psycho dermatology: the mind and skin connection – PubMed (nih.gov)
- [iii] Harvard Health – Recognizing the mind-skin connection
- [iv] Eczema Unmasked Report, The National Eczema Society 2020.