Visibly stressed out face with bags under eyes and red skin

When Your Face Screams Out “I’m Stressed!”

I got out of the shower, looked in the mirror, and the face looking back at me just screamed out, “Wow, I’m stressed!” There were bleeding red spots on my face from areas that I had picked. A feeling of itchiness the past few days led me naturally to scratch it and unknowingly generate a bleeding mess. Unfortunately, this bleeding mess was not in a spot on my body that I can easily cover with some clothes. No, it had to be on my face where the world can see.

Off my daily routine

I just got through a month-long stressful work period, I was surprised that during this period I didn’t see any major flare-ups. Then work ramped up and my routine went a bit . . . off track. Ok, so by that I mean that I didn’t exactly wash my face with cleanser every day. Not completely gross; I did use water and still washed my face! The result was that I probably had some residual makeup on my face. I was just so exhausted after work long days and nights and taking care of kids to even care. I don’t wear much makeup, just concealer as needed and a light dusting of blush. Enough to make me look less like a tired Mom pulling late nights.

I also didn’t moisturize my face as I usually do. But that’s not all . . . I didn’t sleep much more than 5 hrs a night, I didn’t eat much, and I didn’t drink as much as I probably should. Oh, and towards the end I was getting a cold. So I did all that and juggled being a single-Mom to three young kids. There was just so much to do every day. The face looking back at me in the mirror was right, I was stressed!

Atopic eczema rears its ugly head

How did this happen? Without realizing it, during the past two days, I was sitting in front of the computer scratching my itchy face. The stress had taken its toll and my eczema was rearing its ugly head on my face. While scratching, I felt relief and satisfaction from peeling off bits of dry skin. Sounds gross, perhaps, but I satisfied the itch. It was much less satisfying when I looked in the mirror and found my face with red spots on it. Not to mention, I was hosting dinner that night and my boyfriend was coming over. Thankfully I could use makeup, as long as the spots stop bleeding. It didn’t do a great job, but I did what I could. In the end, I felt even more stressed knowing that not only was I feeling stressed on the inside, but that my face showed it on the outside.

It’s been a couple of days and the red eczema spots are still there, taking their time healing. I’ve got a meeting tomorrow, so hopefully another day will give it time to improve. In a few days, unless you can read my mind and know that I’m stressed, my face should no longer scream out what my mind is thinking.

The stress and eczema flare-up cycle

For me, there is a connection between stress and eczema flare-ups. One the result of the other, but sometimes it seems like the chicken vs the egg dilemma. My body responds unkindly with eczema flare-ups, and then the flare-ups make me more stressed and uncomfortable. It all seems like a continuous cycle. During the good times the cycle is broken. Then there are times like this when I feel like there are no breaks. Hopefully, I can keep my stress in check in the next few days and the rest will follow.

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