Scientists are only now starting to understand the way the mind affects the body. Many of those that suffer from serious anxiety and anxiety attacks experience a burning sensation - a feeling of burning skin that can be frightening.
That burning sensation really can be a symptom of anxiety. It may occur with or without an anxiety attack, and it may even be associated with skin flare ups.
Burning Skin = Anxiety?
To learn if your burning skin sensation is related to an anxiety (or panic) disorder, take our quick test.
The feeling of burning skin needs certain other symptoms to be related to anxiety.
So, click here to take the test and find out for sure (free).
Many now believe that anxiety has the ability to mimic almost every type of health problem available. In some cases, it may even be hard to tell the difference between anxiety and another health issue, or tell the difference between two types of anxiety.
Generally, I recommend that you start with the free 7 minute anxiety test I developed on this site. It helps people understand their anxiety and symptoms, including burning sensations, and gives them a graphic to help understand not only anxiety but the related steps towards treatment.
Causes of Burning Sensations in Skin
When you experience anxiety, your body is in fight or flight mode. That causes a rush of adrenaline as your body prepares for "action." Adrenaline affects people in different ways. Some people experience more of a weakness or a tingling. Others experience a burning sensation all throughout their body.
This is your entire body responding to the increase in energy. It's a normal part of anxiety attacks, and may occur even when no attack is present.
Burning sensations - unusual, but not uncommon
Other unusual symptoms of anxiety include:
- Chest pains.
- Trouble holding up your head.
- Skin rashes.
Not everyone will experience these symptoms. Others will experience all or some of them. Others will experience some symptoms of anxiety that make health problems worse.
Burning Sensation in Your Eyes
Some people experience a burning sensation in their eyes. This may be independent of whether they feel a burning sensation in their skin, but the cause is still the same - the body experiences a rush of energy, and this energy puts pressure in and around the eye (or both eyes) causing a burning feeling. Anxiety may also lead to dry eyes, although the link between the two has yet to be discovered.
Burning on Areas of the Skin and Skin Disorders
Anxiety also causes the skin to be more sensitive. Because the skin is sensitive, it may be prone to skin reactions with no discernible cause that lead to issues like itching and rash.
Anxiety also creates a great deal of stress, and stress can trigger skin disorders that were already present, such as eczema, herpes, and psoriasis. These skin disorders may cause a burning feeling. In these causes, anxiety would not have caused these skin disorders, but may contribute to them.
How to Stop the Burning
You can't turn off your adrenaline. If you're in the middle of an anxiety attack and it's causing your skin to burn, you need to wait it out. But you can control your anxiety.
The best way is with prevention - using anxiety reduction techniques to keep your anxiety and anxiety attacks from occurring, and the burning feeling will go away.
Also, while you're suffering from anxiety, use traditional relaxation techniques to calm yourself down. Deep breathing and visualization are both very effective, and can keep your anxiety from becoming too stressful.
The mind also has the ability to make normal sensations feel less normal.
Anxiety can cause an issue known as hyper-sensitization, which causes you to notice and experience small physical sensations as though they're much worse than they are. For you, the feeling is very strong, but objectively would be considered "weak" if someone else experienced it.
This only occurs in certain types of anxiety, however. I generally recommend my anxiety test to determine if you're prone to hyper-sensitization.
Dealing with Unusual Anxiety Symptoms
Overall, it is definitely possible for anxiety to cause a burning feeling in your skin and eyes. It's an unusual symptom, of course, but it's not a rare one. Many people experience some type of burning, especially during periods of intense anxiety.
In the past I've helped thousands of people with their anxiety symptoms, but before I start I always recommend they take the free 7 minute anxiety test I developed.
It's designed to give you a snapshot of your own anxiety, so that you can see a breakdown of what kinds of anxiety you're experiencing and how they affect you.
This 7 minute anxiety test will:
- Help you find out if (and which) of your symptoms are indeed anxiety.
- Break your anxiety problems into smaller, understandable pieces.
- Show in graphical form the causes that make up your anxiety.
- Describe the next step to overcoming your anxiety problems.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.