The Emotional Roots of Eczema: How Stress Cause and Worsens Eczema

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Skin speaks volumes about our internal states. This article delves into the complex relationship between stress and eczema, revealing how our emotions can manifest on our skin and what we can do to soothe both our minds and bodies.

Many of us tend to overlook the impact of mental stress on our skin’s health.
But let’s consider a common experience we’ve all shared: blushing...

Picture this: you’re in a situation where you say something awkward, and suddenly, your face lights up like a Christmas tree.

That’s your skin reacting in real-time to your emotions.

And if someone’s kind enough to point out your newfound tomato shade, well, hello even redder face!

Our skin is more than just a cover; it’s like a canvas that vividly displays our physical health and emotional state.

Ever noticed how you go pale when you’re scared or get those weird goosebumps during a thriller movie? That’s your skin talking…

Studies on skin conductivity reveal something fascinating: our skin reacts to every conversation and emotion, showing changes in electrical response.

This finding suggests that our skin is a dynamic reflection of our body’s physical and mental processes.

Researchers investigating the effects of stress on the skin have discovered the brain-skin axis.

Recent studies have clearly shown that psychological processes have a significant impact on atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and acne.

Acne and eczema have been observed to worsen during periods of increased nervous tension.

Now, for those battling eczema, stress is like throwing fuel on fire. I’ve been there too…

The worst eczema outbreaks happen right after super stressful times, like exams or tough days at work.

Professor Uwe Gieler, a renowned figure in psychodermatology from the Medical University of Giessen, Germany, has spent three decades studying the psychological impact on skin diseases.

He believes that at least 25% of allergic reactions are triggered by emotional stress. According to him, our skin acts as a release valve for emotional stress.

So, when you see someone with inflamed skin, red patches, or peeling…

It might just be their body’s way of dealing with emotions they can’t quite handle.

How does stress affect eczema?

So, how stress and eczema are linked? It’s a bit of a two-way street.

1. Mind Over Skin: The mental state can affect the skin, as in the case of stress, which aggravates eczema.

2. Skin Over Mind: Dealing with eczema or any visible skin issue can really weigh on your emotions. It’s tough, and it can affect the emotional and mental sphere, which is often accompanied by depression and lowered self-esteem.

Why do I get eczema when I’m stressed?

  1. Emotional stress increases stress hormone levels.
  2. This causes mast cells, which are found in the skin, to release powerful inflammatory mediators (the most famous are heparin and histamine, which are released in allergic reactions)
  3. They cause symptoms such as swelling and skin redness.

These mediators widen your skin’s blood vessels and make them more ‘leaky,’ letting immune cells jump into action quicker.

However, they have an irritating effect on the nerve endings, which causes itching and intensifies the further release of inflammatory mediators. It’s like a snowball effect.

Chronic Stress and Its Impact on Eczema

When we talk about chronic stress, we are referring to a type of stress that lingers for a prolonged period, sometimes lasting for days, months, or even longer. This kind of stress is particularly detrimental to our skin’s health.

How stress can worsen eczema?

It has a two-fold effect: firstly, it increases inflammation, and secondly, it weakens the immune system’s response. Both of these effects are harmful to our skin.

Such prolonged stress disrupts the natural balance of the skin, leading to the exacerbation of various skin conditions. In the context of eczema, chronic stress has a specific and negative impact.

It disrupts the balance between two types of immune cells, known as Th1 and Th2 lymphocytes. Chronic stress tends to enhance the activity of Th2 lymphocytes. This imbalance is significant because it leads to an increase in the severity of eczema symptoms.

Psychosomatics: what is the emotional root cause of eczema?

“The fact that the mind rules the body is, in spite of its neglect by biology and medicine, the most fundamental fact which we know about the process of life.”

Franz Alexander

Skin as a Metaphor

Can stress cause eczema and anxiety? Intense emotions have the power to alter how our immune and hormonal systems operate.

Franz Alexander, a pioneer in the field of psychosomatic medicine, identified seven key psychosomatic illnesses, including both skin and respiratory conditions.

He proposed that physical symptoms are often manifestations of emotional states, arising when emotions are not properly expressed or processed.

These unresolved emotional issues can trigger various reactions in the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, potentially leading to physical disorders.

Specifically, skin diseases like eczema may develop as a physical response to emotional conflicts that deeply challenge an individual’s beliefs, lifestyle, or core values.

A disease is, as strange as it may sound, a program that enables survival.

Intuition is like our inner compass, speaking to us in really simple terms: it’s either a thumbs up or a thumbs down on things.

Most of us can agree, when we tune in and really listen to what our gut feeling is telling us, things usually turn out pretty well. Our intuition nudges us to go for things that feel right and steer clear of what doesn’t sit well with us.

But here’s the catch: if we start ignoring these internal signals, we often find ourselves feeling down and stressed.

Imagine you keep doing stuff that doesn’t really help you grow or make you happy. That’s when you start feeling more and more out of sync, and life just doesn’t seem to flow the way you want it to.

Ever been in a spot where you’re like:
“I should’ve listened to what my gut was telling me”?
That’s a classic sign of ignoring your intuition.

But the good news is, once you start doing what you instinctively feel is right, all that built-up pressure starts to fade away. You’ll find yourself feeling much better, getting back in tune with yourself and everything around you.

But here’s the thing: if you keep heading down a path that just isn’t right for you, it’s like pushing against a growing resistance.

This struggle keeps building up until it hits a breaking point, and then, boom – physical symptoms start showing up.

These could be anything from getting sick, feeling mentally overwhelmed, or even experiencing accidents. What we really need to focus on here are these symptoms – they’re like clues telling us something’s off.

These signs are pretty telling. They sort of mirror how we’re treating ourselves. It’s interesting how we use phrases in everyday language that reflect this.

Do emotions affect eczema?

Be careful what you say, because it may come true…

Take “to be thick-skinned,” for example.
It’s not just a saying – it points to how we’re actually feeling on the inside.

So, it’s worth listening to the words we use. They often reveal a lot more than we think.

Phrases like “I’m crawling out of my skin” or “I’ve got you under my skin” aren’t just figures of speech; they could be hinting at deeper issues.

Keep an ear out for what you’re saying – it might just help you understand what’s really going on under the surface.

Think of it this way: your body is like a messenger, showing you how you’re connecting with yourself and the world around you. It’s like a mirror reflecting the choices you’ve made in life.

This isn’t about blaming yourself or figuring out what’s right or wrong. It’s more about seeing the cause-and-effect in your life.

This whole thing is really about understanding and taking charge, not pointing fingers. When you get the message your body is sending, you’re at this amazing turning point where you can shift your mindset and how you live your life. Once you stop doing the things that throw you off balance, you start getting back to a good place, both in your mind and body.

And here’s the cool part: when you’ve received and acted on your body’s message, those symptoms, which were like alarm bells, don’t need to stick around anymore. They fade away as you align more with what you truly believe in and what’s good for you.

Eczema and healing trauma

So, here’s the deal: when we’re trying to figure out why certain symptoms, like eczema, pop up, we need to play detective with our own lives.

We look back at everything that’s happened just before or right around the time these eczema symptoms started showing up. It’s often our reaction to these events that brings these symptoms to the surface.

Alright, if you’re dealing with eczema, here are some key questions to ponder. Think of them as clues to understanding your skin better:

  • When did it all begin? Reflect on when you first noticed your eczema.
  • What triggers it? Consider the times or situations that seem to make your symptoms flare up.
  • What’s it trying to say? Think about whether your eczema could be linked to deeper internal issues you might be facing Try to figure out if there’s something specific your eczema is trying to tell you.
  • The protective role: Ponder on what eczema might be shielding you from in your life.
  • The side effects: Reflect on what you avoid doing because of your eczema.
  • Actions and reactions: What does eczema make me do? What does it push me to do?
  • Hidden expressions: Is there something in you that wants to break through and express itself (aggression, sexuality, true self)?
  • Craving closeness: Finally, do you have a desire for intimacy, yet you isolate yourself?

Can stress alone cause eczema?

The skin is responsible for touch and for making contact with others. Most of the time, the problem is a lack of contact; we want to hug someone and get closer.

Eczema can occur if we miss someone deeply and are unaware of it. Understanding how important skin, touch, and proximity are to us—especially as children—will help us better comprehend these conflicts.

Let’s paint a picture: imagine a mom puts her child outside on a sunny day while she catches a break or gets some chores done. For her, it’s a much-needed pause. But for the little one, it can feel like a whole different story.

The child feels that the mother is not around, and at any moment, some predator can threaten him. It does not feel safe. Any separation, even a short one, means danger for the child—the threat of death. The mother’s presence cannot be replaced by anyone. If the child has any skin problems, we look for just such condition.

Skin is like a big billboard for our feelings. Especially for little kids who can’t quite put their feelings into words.

When they feel scared, alone, or unsafe, they can’t just say it like adults do.
So, what happens? Their skin starts talking for them.

Think about it: how can a young child tell the world they feel really alone or scared? They can’t always express it, but their body finds a way – and that’s often through their skin.

Nature has made skin the go-to way to show what’s going on inside, especially when it comes to feelings of being left out or losing touch with someone close.

It’s like the skin holds onto these memories of not being held or hugged enough. When kids feel this disconnect or sense of loss, it can show up as changes in their skin.

This is really common in children because they feel the need for physical contact much more than adults do.

Being close and touched is super important for them. So, if a child is dealing with something like eczema, it might be their way of showing that they need more physical closeness and comfort.

Believe it or not, adults can experience something similar to kids when it comes to skin issues like eczema or rashes. It’s not as common because adults are usually less sensitive about physical separation.

But when these skin issues do show up, they’re like clues pointing to some past conflict – often something to do with feeling separated or losing touch with someone or something important.

In the wild, animals feel this when they’re separated from their mothers or groups.

For us humans, it could be about drifting apart from family, friends, pets, or even familiar places and events.

Maybe you miss your child or long for the home you grew up in. Sometimes it’s about wanting to leave a job or needing some space from a neighbor who’s getting on your nerves.

To really get to the bottom of these skin problems, it’s helpful to think way back, even to when you were born.

Look for patterns of separation or feeling isolated in your life.

Tough times, like your parents getting divorced, losing a pet you loved, or moving away from friends, can leave a lasting mark in your memory. These unresolved feelings might just be the key to understanding your skin issues.

Where does eczema appear and what does it mean?

Skin issues like rashes or eczema often show up in specific places like our knees, elbows, hands, chest, face, and even eyelids.

It’s super interesting because the spot where these skin problems appear can actually tell us a lot about the emotional conflicts we might be dealing with.

Here’s something to think about: sometimes we experience feelings of wanting to be away from someone or a situation, but we just can’t make that happen. Depending on what’s going on emotionally, these skin issues can pop up in different spots that are kind of predictable.

For example, if we’re feeling a sense of unwanted separation, like missing a mom or a close one, you might notice skin changes in places that would normally be in close contact with that person.

Think about the insides of your hands, your thighs, around your neck – these are places where you’d feel their touch or hug.

On the flip side, when adults feel a need to step back from family, partners, school, or work – what we can call ‘wanted separation’ – the skin changes might show up on the outer parts of the body.

These are areas that symbolize our desire to create some space between us and others or certain situations:

  • Eczema on eyelids: separation lived through sight “I lost sight of him/her”.
  • Eczema on the face: when we think about a loved one, the face is the first to be reflected in the mirror of our memory.
  • Eczema on hands: separation conflict related to touching someone or something

If you want to heal the skin, look beneath the surface. In our case, finding out the cause of the appearance of such lesions can cure us completely.

This is often the case with psoriasis, which is widely regarded as an incurable disease.

The therapeutic strategy known as “Total Biology” maintains that mental conflicts in the brain are the root cause of disease. The skin gives us a lot of answers.

Once this is done, it is worth focusing on releasing emotions from the mind and body. The solution to problems lies behind our individual histories, which we often hide deep in the subconscious, but the solution can also be very simple.

How long does stress-induced eczema last?

The healing process is written in the body, and in most cases, simply giving time is enough to improve health. Conflicts from the present day, as well as those experienced by our family (e.g., by your mother during pregnancy), can be present in us until we become aware of them and relate them to our lives.

It’s also interesting that the symptoms of eczema will almost always be felt after the conflict of separation has passed.

Hives, flaking, itching, or small blisters will appear in a visible way on the skin in the so-called “repair phase”.

If the symptoms persist, the conflict has not been resolved.

If they recur, the conflict kicks in cyclically, and the symptoms are still in the repair phase.

Often, people create another conflict for themselves because skin diseases trigger, for example, shame and low self-esteem, so the skin is affected again. Then it’s essential to find the first conflict that starts the program.

How to Treat Stress Eczema

It’s recommended to keep a diary of skin symptoms. This enables us to determine whether it occurs as a result of specific events in our lives. When we notice a link between stress and skin symptoms, we should think about involving a psychologist or psychotherapist in the therapy.

Is hypnotherapy the best treatment for Stress-Related eczema?

Hypnosis may be useful in stress related eczema and may overcome the need for systemic treatments for some patients.

In 1995, a study by Stewart and Thomas published in “The British Journal of Dermatology” showed some interesting results about treating eczema with hypnotherapy.

They worked with 18 adults with extensive atopic dermatitis, resistant to conventional treatment.

After using hypnotherapy, these adults showed real improvement that lasted up to 2 years (measured both subjectively and objectively).

They also tried hypnotherapy on 20 kids with serious atopic dermatitis that wasn’t responding to usual treatments.

All but one showed immediate improvement.

When they asked 12 of these kids about how they were doing up to 18 months later, 10 of them were still doing better in terms of itching and scratching.

Can you imagine that? I know it seems unbelievable but there is even more data!

In 2020, a study by Delaitre, Léa, and others in France looked at how hypnosis might help people with eczema. They worked with 29 patients at a hypnosis clinic in the Dermatology Department of Le Mans Hospital.

The study included 27 people, ranging in age from 4 to 75 years. To see if the hypnosis was working, they used a special scale called the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI).

Hypnosis sessions were performed by a physician trained in hypnosis and lasted 20 minutes.

The hypnosis technique used was based on the notion of an “emotional attic.”

The patients were asked to relax totally, physically and mentally, and hypnosis was then induced by asking the patients to focus on an object, leading to a feeling of the eyelids becoming heavy. The patients were then asked to imagine that they had an emotional attic in their belly in which all their negative emotions were stored. They were asked to empty that attic and to make use of this state of relaxation, relief, and lightness to repaint the empty attic in a soft, healing, and benevolent color. They were told that this color would then spread throughout the body, freed from its negative emotions.

After trying hypnosis, eczema improved or resolved in 26 of the 27 patients (which is about 96% of them).

Here’s a little something: 9 of 21 patients had a final EASI score of 0 and considered themselves to be cured.

Well, there is even more

In 2016, a Hungarian study used hypnotherapy to treat people with eczema. The therapy had 15 sessions where they used special techniques to both help with the skin symptoms and also work on psychological issues.

Sleep quantity and quality after 10 sessions showed huge improvement:

Number of nights slept per month went from just 1–2 to 23–25 based on sleep diary!

On a scale from 0 (really bad sleep) to 10 (perfect sleep), their sleep quality went up from 3 to 8. They started sleeping more easily and didn’t feel so tired.

The itching got less intense, going from 7 down to 4 on a 10-point scale. It also stopped hurting. The itching wasn’t just less annoying; it also stopped affecting their daily life so much. It went from being really bothersome (8 out of 10) to hardly a problem (2 out of 10).

Here’s true story: At the start, one patient was feeling really down (his depression score was 15) and was overwhelmed by his skin problem, not sleeping well, and hardly able to do anything. But at the end, this man’s sleep problems and skin issues were much better, his mood had improved a lot (his depression score went down to 3), and he felt ready to do his daily tasks again, like spending time with his kids and doing woodwork in the garden.

Three months after the therapy was over, the good results lasted and things kept getting even better.

Self-Help Tips for Managing Stress-Related Eczema

Add one or more stress-reduction techniques to your daily routine:

  • self-hypnosis
  • mindfulness,
  • yoga,
  • meditation,
  • Deep breathing (Wim Hof Method)
  • Yoga Nidra – Qigong
  • Schultz’s autogenic training,
  • Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Journaling (writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly)

Find a specialist who has experience in Total Biology / Recall Healing.

Sometimes it’s enough to realize something and process it (trauma, death of a loved one, stressful event) for our nervous tension to subside. The first rule Total Biology teaches us is that the brain itself makes the decision to create a disease if a biological conflict is experienced.

Generally speaking, stress is transferred into the body as a disease if it’s very violent, shocking, or long-lasting. Recall Healing/Total Biology offers a framework in order to guide you and identify the repressed emotions behind a disease.

Practice self-care

What we focus on expands in our lives. So instead of thinking about the illness or determining whether you’ve already recovered, you should concentrate on something else. My remissions were the quickest in my life when I was immersed in a project or away from home. I don’t know when, but the skin started to heal after I spent the entire day outside and active.

Making time for self-care each day could help you feel less stressed. Here are some examples:

  • getting a massage
  • lighting candles
  • aromatherapy
  • reading a good book
  • practicing a hobby (skiing, cycling, painting)
  • preparing a healthy meal
  • stretching

Spend time in nature and get more physical activity.

Studies have shown that being in nature and spending time in green areas such as parks and forests are healthy ways to manage stress. Even ten minutes in a natural environment can help to improve psychological and physiological indicators of mental health.


The eczema symptoms speak for themselves. Eczema reveals how you deal with yourself. The use of creams and other topical remedies for eczema can only alleviate the symptoms but will not remove the root cause.

Long-term stress reduction is a necessary for a healthy well-being, which is essential for skin regeneration. In many cases, skin therapies must be preceded by soul healing

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