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Burning, Itching, Itchy Skin Anxiety Symptoms

Burning, Itching, Itchy Skin with no rash anxiety symptom description:

Your skin (or parts thereof) feels like it is burning and/or itching even though there isn’t any visible reason for it to be burning and/or itching, such as burn marks or dry, cracked, flaky, or broken skin.

This burning itching skin sensation can be mildly noticeable, moderately bothersome, or severely problematic.

The skin can be burning so much that it feels like a major sunburn even though you haven’t been in the sun. And sometimes you can scratch and scratch, even to the point of injuring the skin, yet your skin is still itching and/or very itchy.

Generally, this burning and itching skin feeling doesn’t have any visible reason for it to feel that way. It appears the skin is itching and burning for no apparent reason.

This burning itching skin sensation can occur anywhere on the body, such as the hands, face, feet, back, neck, lips, and scalp, to name a few.

This burning itching skin sensation can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may have severe skin burning and itching once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel the burning and itching all the time.

This burning itching skin sensation may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This burning itching 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 burning itching skin sensation can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

This burning itching skin sensation can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

What causes the burning itching skin anxiety symptom?

There can be many causes for burning itching skin. It’s best to discuss this symptom with your doctor to rule out all other causes.

NOTE: Allergic reactions and adverse reactions to medications are also common causes of burning and itching skin sensations. Be sure to discuss this symptom with your doctor to rule out those potential causes.

If your burning and itching 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.

Due to the extent of changes the stress response brings about, 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 the body isn’t overly stressed, the nervous system and sensory organs perform normally. But when the body becomes overly stressed from too frequent and/or dramatic stress responses (which we call stress-response hyperstimulation), the body, nervous system, and sensory organs can ‘misbehave’ and cause a wide range of nervous system and sensory symptoms, such as exhibiting a burning and itching skin sensation.

Because anxiety and stress caused burning and itching skin sensations are only related to elevated stress and not some other medical condition, they aren’t harmful. Therefore, this burning and itching feeling isn’t a reason for concern.  

How to get rid of burning and itching skin sensations?

Since this symptom is caused by stress and how it affects the body, reducing your body’s stress is the best way to eliminate anxiety and stress caused burning and itching skin sensations. As your body’s stress diminishes, this symptom should diminish and eventually disappear.

Keep in mind, however, that it may take some time before your body’s overly stressed state is completely resolved. Reducing a body’s stress often takes much longer than most people think.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from stress-response hyperstimulation, this burning and itching skin sensation will completely subside.

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, a burning and itching skin sensation can be annoying. But again, when your body has fully recovered from its overly stressed state, this symptom will completely disappear.

For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including burning and itching 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.


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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated April 4, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/therapy for problematic anxiety and its symptoms, including the anxiety symptom burning itching skin.