Itching, Itchy, Burning Skin With No Rash Anxiety Symptoms
Y our skin (or parts thereof) is abnormally itching, itchy and/or burning even though there isn t any visible reason for it to be itching and/or burning.
This itching and burning skin sensation can be mildly noticeable, moderately bothersome, or severely problematic. Sometimes you can scratch and scratch, even to the point of injuring the skin, yet your skin is still itching, very itchy, and/or burning.
The skin can also feel like its burning like a major sunburn even though you haven t been in the sun.
Generally, this itching and burning sensation on the skin doesn t have any visible marks or burn marks. It appears the skin is itching and burning for no apparent reason.
This itching and burning on the skin sensation can occur anywhere on the body, such as the hands, face, feet, lips, and scalp, to name a few.
This itching and burning skin sensation can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may have severe itching and burning skin once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel the itching and burning all the time.
This itching and burning skin sensation may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.
This itching and burning skin sensation can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur out of the blue and for no apparent reason.
This itching and burning skin sensation can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where your itching and burning skin sensation is strong one moment and eases off the next.
This itching and burning sensation can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.
All of the above combinations and variations are common.
Why can anxiety cause itching burning skin sensations but no rash symptoms?
Because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety and anxiety-like sensations and symptoms, including this one, we recommend that all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms be discussed with your doctor. If your doctor concludes that your sensations and symptoms are solely stress related (including anxiety-caused stress), you can be confident that there isn’t another medical reason for them. Generally, most doctors can easily tell the difference between stress- and anxiety-caused sensations and symptoms from those caused by other medical conditions.
If you are uncertain about your doctor s diagnosis, however, you may want to seek a second and even third opinion. But if all three opinions concur, you can be assured that stress (including the stress that being overly anxious can cause) is the cause of your sensations and symptoms and not some other medical or biological problem.
If your itching and burning skin sensation has been attributed to anxiety and stress, behaving apprehensively (worrying, fretting, being anxious) causes the body to activate the stress response, which brings about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body to enhance the body s ability to deal with a threat to either fight with or flee from it. Due to the nature of these changes, the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.
Because stress responses cause such dramatic changes in the body, stress responses stress the body, and especially the nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for sending and receiving sensory information to and from the brain, including sending and receiving sensory information from the nerve endings in the skin.
When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi hyperstimulated state, since stress hormones are stimulants. We call this state stress-response hyperstimulation.
A body that becomes stress-response hyperstimulated can behave in odd and erratic ways. Experiencing itching and burning skin for no apparent reason is an example of how the body s nervous system and sensory organs can misbehave due to being overly stressed (it s thought that the nerve endings in the skin become over active, and therefore, send incorrect information to brain, such as an itching and burning feeling).
While anxiety and stress caused itching and burning skin sensations may be unusual, they aren t harmful or an indication of a serious medical problem. It s just one more way a stress-response hyperstimulated body can produce odd and erratic symptoms.
NOTE: Allergic reactions and adverse reactions to medications are also common causes of itching and burning skin sensations. Be sure to discuss this symptom with your doctor to rule out those potential causes.
How to treat itching burning skin sensations but no rash?
Since this symptom is caused by stress and how it affects the body, reducing your body s stress is the best way to eliminate an itching burning skin sensation but no rash symptom. As your body recovers from its stress-response hyperstimulated state, it will stop sending symptoms of stress, including an itching burning skin sensation.
Keep in mind, however, that it may take some time before your body s overly stressed state is completely resolved.
Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered, this itching burning skin sensation will completely subside. Therefore, it needn t be a cause for concern.
You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this feeling. Sure, it can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from its overly stressed state, this symptom will completely disappear.
For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including itching burning skin sensation, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have a great deal of information about this in the Recovery Support area of our website.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated August 5, 2017.