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Eczema & Depression - Everything You Need To Know

by Nazerah Tahir September 12, 2018 3 min read


Living with eczema is quite exhausting - both mentally and physically. More than 30 percent of adults with atopic dermatitis – a chronic disease of the immune system that appears on the skin – say they have been diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety. The exact link between eczema and depression is still not known, but before we shed some light on both, we need to discuss a few things.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition in which skin patches become rough, hard and inflammable and causes further itching, burning and even bleeding. Usually, it occurs on infants, but it can also affect adults. When you’re infected with eczema, you’ll start to notice red and hard patches on the face or chest of your body, which further expands to other body parts. By continued scratching, it can lead to more irritation & bleeding. You can also find these symptoms on elbows, behind your knees or on your neck as well.

It can be caused by eating some allergic type of foods. Not all but some people can have allergies from some particular foods. For example, nuts, soya products and other dairy products can be responsible for Eczema if you're allergic to them. Maintaining eczema-friendly diet is the key treatment to avoid eczema.

Apart from that, poor mental health or depression can also cause or worsen the eczema condition. Let’s find out how:

How Depression Causes Eczema?

Eczema is a psycho-dermatologic disorder. That means it’s a physical condition that is linked with emotional health. One of the most common factors causing eczema is depression. When you feel mentally tired, your body responds to it by releasing stress hormones leading to depression. Depression then suppresses the immune system and can cause various health and skin problems, Eczema being one of them. Both Eczema and stress go hand in hand with each other. As depression cause Eczema, eczema is also capable of causing stress because of constant irritation and even lack of good sleep.

Since stress releases the hormones that affect our immune system. People having eczema have a weaker immune system and so the ability of their body to deal with health problems decreases. Though there are many ways you can deal with the eczema, for example - Medications, Lotions, Oils etc but in addition to that, coping up with your stress is also very important. Because no matter how many medications you take, you are going to get it back as long as you have eczema.

How can you deal with stress to improve your Eczema condition?

Here are some tips to help you how to say goodbye to stress and the skin problems induced by depression:

  • Meditation- Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and calm your mind. Make a little time for yourself everyday and do meditation for at least 15-20 minutes. Meditation helps you forget all your worries, relax your muscles, and calm your nerves. To practice meditation, sit comfortably, focus deeply on your steady breathing and pay close attention to your present moment. Better you feel, better will be your condition.
  • Exercise- Exercise is also very effective in improving your mood. Try cardio 3-4 times a week and it will help you reduce depression. Try yoga for better results. Yoga will calm your nerves and relax your mind. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human services you need 150 minutes of moderate and intense physical activities per week to keep your mental and physical health in check.
  • Sleep- Too much or too less sleep can increase depression symptoms. We often ignore sleep, but a great sleep will fresh your mind and bring you the positivity. A good night sleep is very important for your physical and mental health. Therefore, sleep for at least 8 hours everyday.
  • Try other activities- Distract your mind by doing other activities like writing, painting, listening your favourite music, playing video games or anything else that you enjoy. It will decrease your mental stress and improve eczema condition.
  • Spend time with your family or loved ones- Spending quality time with your family, friends and other loved ones bring greater peace to your mind. Having meaningful conversations with them will distract your mind and keep you away from scratching. Positive social relationships are important for physical and mental well being and thus for improving eczema.
  • Other alternatives- Try other alternatives like acupuncture, acupressure and simple massage can help you to relax your tensed muscles. It also improves the blood circulation and minimize eczema.
  • Eat healthy- Foods with omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid could help ease depression. You need to watch out that what you eat during Eczema. Eat foods like salmon, spinach, tuna, avocado etc.

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