Avatar universal

red blotchy chest/neck rash

Just wondering if anyone has a 'miracle cure'!!  For a few years now, I've been getting a red blotchy chest/neck rash in circumstances where I - am drinking alcohol, anxious, nervous, excited, upset - really feeling just about any emotion.  It's gotten to the point where I do not expose my chest/neck ever - and cover up whenever I can.  I had read once that taking Niacinimide could help - and I've been taking about 1000mg of it for a few months, but am not seeing much improvement.  Anyone with any help or suggestions I would REALLY appreciate it.  
410 Responses
Avatar universal
i don't have a miracle cure, but i suffer from depression and i have panic attacks..i have discovered that because of my anxiety i feel itchy and get rashes around my neck chest, and if my anxiety is really bad every where else..all i can suggest is numerous baths. it doesn't rid the itchy feeling but it calms the feeling at least for a while.
Avatar universal
I've had the same thing happening to me for the past couple of years and it seems to get worse over time. I've been taking 500mg of niacinamide and 750mg of GABA twice a day and it definitely helps some.

I'd check out this site if you haven't already: https://community.vhi.ie/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/615103/m/7921097/p/1

I hope you find something helpful there.
Avatar universal
Hi there,
I have been a chronic flusher for years. I get a red blotchy anxiety rash on my neck & chest area when nervous or anxious. I have tried many vitamins & herbs to help this & nothing has really stopped the rash completely except beta blockers.

Good luck!  
Avatar universal
The problem you have is something that my sister, my daughter, and I all have in common.  It is an annoyance but nothing much to really worry about.  Honestly, there are many people who have this problem and if your skin is as light as mine, unfortunately it is far more noticeable.  The only thing I can tell you is, if you know when it will show up then wear a turtle neck that day.  My daughter has to do presentations with the type of job she has and that is what she does and just laughs it off if someone mentions it.  It's kind of like having "white coat syndrome"  except it shows up in your neck and chest.  I don't mean to make light of this but, if you can make fun of yourself about this if someone mentions it, it really makes it a lot easier and you may find that it may not happen as often.    
Avatar universal
What beta blockers did you try? Do you have to take them daily?? I'm definately to that point.  Also - just curious - if anyone noticed it better or worse dependant on weight gain or loss?? I've recently gained about 15 lbs and the rash is far worse than ever before.
432009 tn?1304749841
I would also recommend checking out the dermatology forum. Ask the medical doctor who is the expert overseeing it.

Additionally, I'd ask my dermatologist for help on this, too.
Hope you can find some relief...
Avatar universal
Hi, I too get that annoying red nervous rash all over my chest and neck. It's very embarrassing. I am a corporate trainer and I love my job, but getting up and talking in front of people on an almost daily biases gives my nerves a workout. I have only had this horrible anxious rash for 4 years, ever since I graduated college and entered the work force. I have found that tanning helps, I am somewhat fair skinned and having a tan you are unable to see the redness. I recently got married in Mexico where I was quite tan and knew that the wedding day and reception that we had back home would send me into waves of splotches, because I was so tan I didn’t get splotchy once.

Caffeine, Alcohol, any emotion, or stress brings it out in me. There are some posts on here saying to just except it and move on, well that’s easier said than done : ) I am going to the doctor Monday again to talk to him about what it is, he told me to start taking Zyrtec the allergy medicine and give it a couple months to see how I responded to that and I have to say it helped a little, I didn’t get quite as red as long. I have done some research and have found some positive things being said about Cetapres patch. I don’t know if he’ll prescribe it to me or just say that it’s a social anxiety and there really isn’t anything to do.

It is comforting though knowing I’m not alone. My heart breaks for all of you, I know what its like. I wear a turtle neck every time I have to do a training, it’s so embarrassing to wear sleeveless turtle necks in the dead heat of summer!!

Take care
Avatar universal
Please write back and let me know what your dr said!!
Avatar universal
I have dealt with this since high school - after doing some research, I starrted 60mg of propranolol ER (beta blocker) and it REALLY MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE.  I don't have high blood pressure either and my doctor was not concerned about giving me the medication and there are very little side effects - no weight gian issues, etc.  Give it a shot!
Avatar universal
So, with the beta blockers - do you still have the rash at all, or is it completely gone?? I have a Drs. Appt in July....
535822 tn?1443976780
Apple cider vinegar, may not cure it but really soothes it.Lot of Natural cures out there. Dry Oatmeal I hear also but I havent tried that one.
480448 tn?1426948538
The first thing I pictured when I read your post was my aunt....she could have 2 mouthfuls of wine...and she's super blotchy all over her neck and chest.  She said it is also like that when she is ever anxious...and very hot.

I have heard that beta blockers CAN help...but just by basically suppressing the anxious response...just as if you would take it for the anxiety factor before delivering a speech, etc.

I would think it may be worth running by your doctor.  Hope you get some relief!  At least ONE reassuring thing...you know it won't harm you...it is only a cosmetic thing.  Just something that makes YOU more unique.  Just like how I HATE my bazillion freckles....they are part of ME.

(You aint buying this are you?)  LOL  ;0)

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Honestly, I've read all the responses on this and I have some concerns about using medication for this problem.  As I have mentioned in a past post, all the women in my family have this problem.  My daughter is the worst.  When I was her age mine was as bad as hers, the same with my sister.  If you go the beta blocker route, then just use it on the days that you have to do a presentation or you know that you will have the blotches.   I would not recommend a beta blocker just because you have a drink and you break out in blotches.  After a couple of drinks, it goes away, generally or so my daughter tells me.  If your anxiety is such that you have this problem all the time and it is related to anxiety and not an alcoholic drink, then by all means, consider a beta blocker but if it is just a rash that comes and goes when you go out for a drink or get excited, think it through really carefully.  Beta blockers are commonly used for those who do public speaking or perform and they are taken on an as needed basis for these people because of the anxiety that situation provokes, but if it is just a rash and not debilitating anxiety, my first thoughts would be to cover up and take courses on public speaking through Toastmasters or something like that.  My daughter did this and it has help.  It's like CBT, it can't hurt and it might make you a much better public speaker.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your concern and comments - but I never said anything about public speaking. The rash happens to me when I talk to anyone!  Around my own family I get the rash.  It just is worse with alcohol - but it doesn't bother me as much then, because I can blame it on the alcohol.... it's the talking with friends or at work, when I break out in a rash that I am sick of.  It's every day, and it's always on my mind.  I have changed my entire wardrobe to accomodate it, and now with it being summer, am terrified of what I am going to do to cover it.  It consumes my life and that is why I am considering the beta blockers.
Avatar universal
Nurseam, if you feel that this is consuming your life, then by all means, try the beta blocker.  My comments about public speaking were meant for Buckley who is a Corporate Trainer.

Buckley, if your doctor tells you it is "just" social anxiety and there is no treatment for it, I'll be surprised.  It is common practice to  use CBT for social anxiety and alternatively or sometimes in conjunction with CBT, a long acting benzo is something to be considered.  The short acting benzos are good too if ONLY  used on an occasional basis for when you need to do public speaking or for other people who perform.  It is common practice for these people to take a beta blocker and/or a benzo only as needed in these cases.

When I posted before it was for All not just for nurseam and I apologize for the misinterpretation.
Avatar universal
I too have been dealing with this for years, ever since I had my first child who is 21.  I have looked at a bunch of different forums but they are always old so I am never able to commuicate with anyone else that has this problem. I too have to wear turtlenecks all year long.  Talk about feeling foolish, but I feel even more foolish when I am speaking with a client about a million dollar deal and they can see my nevousness.  How much confidence would they have in me.  My coworkers have never asked about my turtlenecks but I'm sure they are curious.  It's just an embarassing problem to have.  I have tried the beta blocker and antihistimines (sp?) and they really have not helped at all.  I have tried counseling because when I think about it, it seems to get worse, but no matter how much breathing I do to try and calm myself I can't keep it from happening.  I used to think it was a mental issue, but you would think that since I am covered up now, it would not happen because now I don't care if it does or not, since no one can see, but that is not the case.  

I read on one blog about using Preperation H on your skin when you think it's going to happen (maybe you know ahead of time you'll be in a situation that will cause a flare up) I have tried this too, but not much help.  I guess you can tell how desperate I am.  By the way I am on anxiety meds, which does help my general anxiety but has not gotten rid of this problem.

Unfortunately I think until there is a med that can help this specif problem, we are stuck trying to cover it up with clothes and tanning.  
Avatar universal
I am wondering if there is a correlation with it and my weight... I first noticed it when I was in an uncomfortable situation following a ?10-15lb weight gain.  Of course, it was not something that I realized, but looking back have noticed that this is around the time I first noticed it.  I recently have lost about 7lbs (so I am still more than I was before I noticed), but seem to notice the rash has improved - but that might also have to do with the GABA and Niacinamide supplements that I am on.....

Just curious if you or anyone else on here has realized a possible similar correlation???
Avatar universal
Alcohol can be a contributing factor to your flushing.  A certain population of people posess a trait leaving them sensitive to alcohol.  It is called an alcohol flush reaction.  This is caused by a normal enzyme (acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) which is primarily responsible for breaking down the bi-product of alcohol ( acetaldehyde).   Flushing, or blushing, is associated with the erythema (reddening caused by dilation of capillaries) of the face, neck, and shoulder, after consumption of alcohol.

There is some evidence that by ingesting Ranitidine (such as Zantac) prior to usage, you can bi-pass this metabolic pathway.  

Flushing can be caused by many factors listed below.  Have you tried cutting out the alcohol to determine if it may be the cause?  Let me know if this helps.  


Sexual arousal (see section to follow)
Emotions: anger, embarrassment
An abrupt cessation of physical exertion (resulting in heart output in excess of current muscular need for blood flow)
Physiological response to vasodilators — for instance, a recent high dose of niacin, nitroglycerine, calcium channel blockers, or any drug that causes release of adrenal hormones that raise blood pressure such as stimulants
Post-menopausal decrease in estrogen production
Neuroendocrine tumors: carcinoid syndrome, pheochromocytoma, VIPoma, thyroid medullary carcinoma
Mast cell tumor: mastocytosis
Various psychedelics or other drugs, such as 3-Quiniclidinyl Benzilate(BZ) or Alcohol
Topical Retinoids
Avatar universal
apologize....previous post correction.....

this is due to a missense polymorphism that encodes the enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) or in otherwords an enzyme that is not capable of breaking down the bi-product of alcohol ( acetaldehyde).  Normally, alcohol or ethanol is eventually converted to acetic acid (vinegar) through a series of reactions, but in some people this becomes a problem.  This leaves the bi-product acetaldehyde in their system creating many symptoms discussed in the previous comment.
Avatar universal
I don't know if has to do with weight gain.  I did gain quite a bit of weight with my pregnancy, but I lost it all pretty quickly (since I was only 21)  I have since had another child and lost all of my weight after her as well.  It does not seem to matter if I'm heavier or not.  I almost wonder if its a hormone thing, since I never had this before I was pregnant.  

I know to some it seems like you should be able to just laugh it off or act like it doesn't bother you, but I know its not possible, I know the fear that is associated with this. It may not seem like a big deal to others, but it's a big deal when it's happening to you.  I pray daily for something to come along and help.  Did you say you are going to the doctor?  Let us know what the outcome is.  I would jump for joy if I could get rid of this or even calm it down a bit.

Avatar universal
I have this same problem.  I'm a teacher and have to run meetings and it's the hardest thing to do.  I'm constantly wearing turtlenecks but then my cheeks get very red as well so people know that I'm nervous no matter what I wear.  

I was wondering if anyone knew about surgery that you can receive for this.  I'm truly at the point where it is taking over my life and I can't take it anymore!

Please let me know.


Avatar universal
Have you tried the beta-blockers?? I haven't myself, but have heard mixed reviews...
Avatar universal
Sarah, I am in the same situation as you. I have actually been dealing with this for over 10 years now. It seems that the older I get the more blotchy I get, because I've advanced in my career and tend to do a lot of face to face million dollar negotiations with my job. It really ***** trying to negotiate or present and just feel the hot, itchy mess coming on. I would be extremely interested in hearing if anyone has had surgery for this and what the outcome was.
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing the same thing for the past 3 years or so (since my 1st pregnancy)...I bought every color turtle neck that I could find.  I am so embarrassed that my husband doesnt even know that I am dealing with it.  I finally got up the nerve to go to my dermatologist about it - she put me on a beta blocker and it works GREAT!!  The only thing is that is makes me feel so tired and run down.  I personally would rather feel like that than have to worry about turtlenecks/make up/embarrasement.  I take 10mg everyday...if I know I am going to be in a stressful situation I will take 20mg that day...I hosted a baby shower recently (this was my test) and I wore a low cut shirt and talked in front of a group of people.  I ran to the bathroom and NOTHING!!  It was one of the most wonderful feelings!  
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