My Seborrheic Dermatitis Flares Up When I Am Under Stress. Is This Common?


Seborrheic Dermatitis is one of the most common forms of eczema. Unlike the most common form, Seborrheic Dermatitis is usually found on the oilier parts of the body where the sebaceous glands are the most active. This includes places like the neck, back, and face.

The effect of stress on the Body

In small doses, stress can have a positive effect on physical and mental health. The human body is built to identify and react stressors. It keeps us alert and helps us avoid danger. But what happens if we have repeated stressful experiences with no release or relaxation in between? We can become more prone to sickness. Stress can affect emotions, behavior, and cognitive abilities.

Stress and Seborrheic Dermatitis

The straight answer to whether it is common for your Seborrheic Dermatitis to flare up when you are stressed is yes. When you are stressed it is much more likely that your body remains physically tensed even without realizing it. To protect the skin, your body boosts inflammation on the surface of the skin ever so slightly. If you already have a skin condition, this can cause a flare-up.

When you become stressed, especially for prolonged periods of time, your body releases hormones and dampens the immune system’s response to foreign bodies. The combination of these two means that when you have eczema, your body may be working with you to try to fight it off.

The immune system is like the medical center or hospital in the body.

When foreign bodies such as infection, bacteria, or viruses affect the body, the immune system sends out “ambulances” packed with “doctors” in the form of white blood cells to fight the body’s attacker(s). If the immune system is down, it is unable to send out the white blood cells to fix the problem and it may persist for long periods of time. With eczema, if the immune system is down, flare-ups are more likely to occur.

This is a very normal and common problem when you become stressed. If you feel like you are becoming stressed, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent it. A good night’s sleep, a healthy diet, and identification of the source of the stress can help bring eczema back under control. Relieving stress will get to the heart of the problem and allow for faster recovery.