Ringworm & Stress-Related Skin Rashes

Ringworm and rashes are problems that show up on the skin 3. The skin becomes discolored, usually red or giving the appearance of hives, and it often feels itchy and uncomfortable 2. In the case of ringworm, the fungus looks similar to a rash, but turns in a circle to form a ring. In the case of stress-related rashes, the rash might come from the stress, or the stress can make an existing rash worse, depending on the situation 2.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Ringworm is a type of rash caused by a fungus. According to Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler, a writer for the website Medicine Net, it originally was thought to come from a worm, and the name "ringworm" stuck even after it was shown to come from a fungus 1. It traditionally forms small rings that resemble worms under the skin. Thee rings either grow with time or stay in the same place, though some types, such as athlete's foot or ringworm on the face, form rashes instead of rings.

Stress-Caused Rashes

Rashes caused by stress typically look similar to regular rashes from allergies, contact dermatitis, viruses, bacteria or medications. Unless the rash breaks out in a high-stress situation--such as getting hives onstage or immediately before going on--that gradually lesson after the situation, it is important to have the rash looked at by a doctor 2. Only a doctor can say that it is stress-related and not caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies or plants such as poison ivy. For stress-caused rashes, treatments include antihistamines to minimize the itchiness, and stress-reducing activities such as meditation and breathing exercises.

Reactions of Rashes to Stress

Rashes caused by poison ivy, bacteria, viruses, fungus or allergies are generally made worse by the addition of stress. According to the website Itchy Skin Rash, extra stress can lower immune systems, allowing the rash to worsen 2. To treat rashes that are made worse from stress, take or use any medications as directed by the doctor, such as a topical anti-fungal medication for ringworm or an antibiotic for bacteria caused rashes, and then work on reducing stress. Always take the appropriate medication to handle the rash. If the rash is not caused by stress, stress-reduction exercises alone will not be enough to get rid of it 2.

Minimizing the Risk of Rashes

In general, rashes such as ringworm and those spread through contact are minimized by not sharing items like towels, brushes or clothing, as well as by wearing shoes in public locations such as swimming pools. In the case of rashes caused by plants, learn which plants cause a rash and what they look, and then avoid them.

Rashes caused by bacteria, viruses or body reactions such as allergies are harder to avoid. In the case of allergies, if the skin breaks out once in hives, the problem can be stopped by avoiding the object, such as a new soap or clothes detergent, that caused the hives. Bacteria and viruses might not unavoidable, depending on where they come from. Practicing stress relief can usually minimize the problems relating to stress. Meditation, calming teas, soothing music or breathing exercises can help.