What Does A Stress Face and Hand Rash Look Like and Treatment

by Mouli Chakraborty
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Often we get irritated with those uneasy rashes developing throughout our smooth skin. Mostly we fail to detect the causes for such red rashes. One of the reasons to have unusual rashes on the skin surface area is due to work-life pressures and daily life stresses. Though the mild stressful condition has zero to negligible impact on your skin, in most cases, stress rash is an outcome of chronic exposure to heavy stressful situations.

Learn about what a stress rash looks like on the face, wrist, legs, etc. 

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What is a stress rash? 

What is a stress Rash
What is a stress Rash

Stress is often known to everyone as a mental phenomenon, but little do we know about the physical consequences of excessive stress.

Stress from time to time eventually causes physical symptoms such as stress rash on the wrist, face, legs, etc. Skin rashes can develop like hives or red itchy spread overs, particularly on your facial skin. 

Stress-stimulated rashes are not severe and often treatable unless you have some crucial pre-existing skin issues. Terrible skin causes such as rosacea or psoriasis get worst with stress rashes.  

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What does a stress rash look like? 

What does a stress rash look like
What does a stress rash look like

Stress rashes are like hives appearing in the form of lifted red bumps. Like typical inflammation, stress rash can also develop in any part of the body.

Generally, hives or stress rash on the wrist, hand, face, or legs are found in the shapes of red bumps. Apart from looking like tiny dots or large welts, each stress rash also feels unique.

While some red spots can feel indifferent to your skin, others can cause intense itching, burning, tingling sensation, or irritation. 

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Are stress rashes common in hands, face, wrist, legs, and other body parts? 

For normal conditions, stress rash is common, and you can have stress hand rash, rashes on legs, or mainly on the face. When our mind is anxious and under complete interior or exterior stress, it releases a chemical response that ultimately impacts various body parts. 

Other than exterior pressures such as excessive workload or exam pressure, you can commonly also have a stress rash on the legs, face, and other body parts due to inherent or pre-existing skin issues like rosacea, eczema, lichen plants, and psoriasis.

When you are facing skin rashes due to internal skin conditions, then it’s better to follow medicated treatments. 

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How long does stress face rash last? 

The period till which stress rashes would last depends on how severe the rashes in your face are. For example, when rashes or hives are small or less swollen like a pen point, then it lasts for hardly one to two days.

But for red bulge rashes, it lasts for as long as one week. When you have one or two smaller hives, it vanishes within a day, but more hives can grow to subside the older ones from different places.

Those stress face rashes taking less time to heal, which is less than one month, are known as acute hives. But those hives lasting more than a month are severe and are called chronic hives. 

In main instances, other than preventing the outside exposure, it also depends on your mental stability to end stress rash. So, the less stressed out emotionally, the greater the chances to heal those swollen welts. 

Common symptoms for early-stage anxiety stress hives. 

Anxiety hives, also known as urticaria, do not always emerge out of the blue every time. Here you can detect some of the common symptoms for early-stage anxiety stress hives in the form of –

Redness and swelling

Most of the hives or rashes in the early stages are red. However, with hives, the red texture also differs. The bumps are not that high in the initial times, but it’s a bit blotchy. 


The most probable symptom to assume about stress welts is frequent itchiness in the region. As a precaution, if you avoid itching much at that time, those rashes won’t take a severe form. 

Burning or stinging sensation

Like any allergic reaction, your skin surface feels like a burning sensation. The irritation or strong burning sensation intensifies when you have an oily skin type. 

Bloated or puffy skin. 

Often the skin’s inflammation is in areas near the stress rashes. Puffiness of the skin can also occur underneath the skin’s surface, which has been given the name of angioedema. 

So, the early stage anxiety stress hives symptoms are no more than minor itchiness or red dot mini swelling. But at later stages, due to scratching, the spread of allergic reaction, the red bumps get further evolved to red patches or welts. 

Can stress cause a rash?

As of now, the answer to can stress causes a rash has already become obvious. But still, it’s important to elucidate on that matter. Commonly swelling occurs in reaction to an allergic factor, but that doesn’t leave the scope for stressful conditions to cause welts.

Other than the common conditions through which hives can develop, like intense exercise, chemical allergic reactions, unsuitable weather or fabric, or food allergies, one cannot rule out stress as an important factor to hives. 

Stress often reasons for further skin-related breakouts, which include bumps or hives because of inducing chemical reactions like histamine in the immune system. So, though stress can cause rashes, many dermatologists reject the idea that stress alone can cause rashes. 

Does stress only cause rashes? 

Experts assume that anxiety alone is not responsible for rashes on the wrist, legs, face, or arms. It is so because an emotional aspect like stress is a part of almost everyone’s life, suggesting everyone would bump face.

 So stress plays a secondary role in developing hives for those who can already be anticipated of getting hives. Hives are found more common in women than men and among those who are prone to allergic reactions.

Also, those suffering from autoimmune diseases are suspected of forming hives more often as compared to others. But the worst part is when you fall in any of these categories, then any form of stress can worsen the scenario. 

Five quick stress rash treatments

Most of the ways for responding to stress rashes are home remedies. And they often heal on their own. In some cases, stress rash treatment through medications is required.

Based on the durability and severity of the outbreak, you should opt for different curing ways for hives. Few of the powerful treatments are- 

Consuming Antihistamines

The best way to begin the stress rash treatment is through consuming antihistamines. These antihistamines are capable of solving skin problems like inflammation or itchiness.

But for serious cases, antihistamines can only work like reducing the discomfort but will not entirely relieve your pain. Typically there are two kinds of antihistamines such as oral or topical.

While for minor cases, topical steroids would be ideal. And for dangerous cases, oral steroids work effectively in lessening pain. 

Some of the common antihistamines are known as OTC, also known as over-the-counter antihistamines. Those would include Zyrtec, Benadryl, or Claritin. 

You should only take strong antihistamines or steroids after the doctor’s recommendation, as there can be side effects to such strong doses. Those antihistamines which you should take under doctor’s prescription are 

  • Corticosteroids.
  • Antibiotics like Aczone. 
  • Oral pills. 
  • Injected medications. 

Cold compress

Using ice gel packs for cold compression also helps in reducing the itchiness of the stress rashes. Dump a cloth in a cold beaker and then apply it to your affected skin, or else you can also use ice packs for compression.

Ensure that you hold the cold towel or have packed it on your skin until it stops itching. However, at the same time, assure that you don’t apply raw ice on your skin as it can further cause severe ice burn for sensitive skins. 

Avoiding smoking and intake of excessive alcohol 

To end stress organically, it would need to stop the influence of any external addictive means to ensure a healthy life. When you adopt a healthy dietary habit, you can expect less stress in your body and, as a result, minimal hives. 

Adequate sleep and less screen time

You should also follow different stress relief techniques to end subsequent developing rashes. Try to minimize the usage of gadgets and make plans to have at least eight hours of sleep a day to have a healthy lifestyle. 

Water consumption

Drinking plenty of water helps in healing from rashes sooner. You should drink minimum one to two liters of water a day. These will contribute to hydrating your skin. Besides that, drinking water also brings a glow to our skin. So, why not! 

When to consult the doctor for stress rash treatment? 

Though consulting a doctor is not always mandatory for stress rashes. However, do you have sensitive skin? And do you face skin issues like rosacea or psoriasis? Then, you should consult the doctor for strong medications.

When your skin is having excessive discomfort or is having burning sensations, then for examination, consult your dermatologist as soon as possible. 

You can assume that your skin rash case is serious when-

  • Redness spreads all over the body. 
  • You will have a fever because of intense rashes. 
  • The rashes develop into blisters or large patches. 
  • The rashes are causing excessive pain. 

End words 

In the end, you must have known that skin rashes can also occur because of stress. However, those skin rashes on the face and other skin surfaces are not critical unless you have pre-existing skin problems like rosacea. Though unlikely, if you feel the pain in your skin and the redness is rapidly spreading throughout your body, then don’t have a second thought about consulting the dermatologist and taking the strong prescribed medications. 


Q.1. What does an anxiety rash look like? 

Answer – Anxiety rashes are like small red bumps and often appear similar to tropical hives. Other than appearing like insignificant dots or large welts, each stress rash is also unique. While some red bumps can feel nothing to your skin but others can cause intense itching, burning, tingling sensation, or irritation. 

Q.2. How do you get properly rid of a stress rash? 

Answer- For getting rid of stress rashes, you have to take antihistamines, take ice pack compression, or at most should take doctors prescribed medications. 

Q.3. Can emotional stress cause a rash? 

Answer- Emotional stress enhances the release of some of the strong chemicals in the body. This ultimately results in physical reactions. And hives or stress rashes are often a form of those physical reactions. 

Q.4. How common is stress rash? 

Answer- Stress rashes are common for all human beings but mostly found among women as compared to men. Physical changes act as an outcome of emotional stress, and hives are common forms of such changes. 

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