Stress and eczema

This section will look at:

  • How do I know if I’m stressed?
  • Things you can do to manage stress
  • Relaxation techniques to help with stress

Stress and eczema

Most people would agree that living with eczema can be stressful at times.

People with eczema have told us that they can feel fed-up when treatments they try don’t work. Or feel hopeless when they get an eczema flare-up, even though they have been doing everything they can to look after their skin.

On top of this, you may feel tired if your itchy eczema has been keeping you up at night. Or you may be sick of people nagging you about looking after your skin or trying not to scratch.

I used to worry so much about what people thought about me and how my eczema looked to other people. Now, I worry about this a lot less. I still have the odd bad day where I can get down about it. But most of the time, I just try not to let it stop me from doing the things I want to do.


These feelings are normal. Everybody feels stressed from time to time. It’s a normal response to difficult times. But being too stressed for too long can have bad effects on your health, mood, and wellbeing.

Some people with eczema also find that stress can make their eczema worse.

This section will take a closer look at ways to help you deal with stress. It will also look at relaxation techniques you might find helpful.

At first, I didn’t think I was that stressed. I just thought I was really busy, which is pretty standard around exam time. Then I started getting headaches and my shoulders felt achy. I think that was my body’s way of telling me to take more study breaks.


How do I know if I'm stressed?

Everybody reacts differently to stress. Getting to know your own signs of stress is one of the first steps in learning to deal with it.

  • Many people notice changes in their body. They may get tense shoulders, feel tired all the time, or get headaches.
  • You may notice changes in your mood. You may feel more easily annoyed, worried, or angrier than usual.
  • When people are stressed, they may notice that their thoughts become more negative. These thoughts are often putting ourselves down. For example, thinking, “why am I so stupid” or “I can’t cope with this”. Thoughts like these are called unhelpful thoughts, and they can have a big impact on our confidence and the way we manage stress.

I find myself being quite snappy with people when I’m stressed. If I catch myself doing it, I try to take a break from what I’m doing. I might go for a 5 minute walk when I have a break or take a few deep breaths.


What things can I do to manage my stress?

Click on the options below to go through techniques that you may find helpful for coping with stress. You can choose the techniques best suited to you.

Go to a calm place (listen or read)

Relaxation techniques

This guided relaxation takes 5 minutes. It helps you to relax your body and mind. It takes you to a safe and calm place that you can visit in your mind whenever you are feeling stressed. Click play in the box below to listen to the guided relaxation.

Just take a second

This quick relaxation can be done wherever you are. It only takes a few seconds.

  • Stop what you are doing for a moment.
  • Let your shoulders relax and go down.
  • Take 2 or 3 slower, deeper breaths.
  • Carry on with what you were doing, but just a little slower.

Breathing space

It can be useful to take a short breathing space when you are facing a stressful situation. It can let you catch-up with yourself and take stock. Stepping aside for just a few minutes can help you to think about your problems from a calmer place and see them from a different point of view. Click play in the box below to listen the guided breathing space.