Most of us have experienced irritated skin at some point or the other, and the symptoms usually vary from person to person. It is often accompanied by a peculiar and uncomfortable sensation on skin that feels a lot like itchiness.
Skin irritations can be localized or diffuse, causing skin inflammation, rashes, redness, and dryness, among other things.
If you are wondering about the treatment for skin irritations, it is important to first understand what causes them. This is what we will cover in the following sections. We will also provide you with expert tips and recommendations for products that can help you with skin irritations.
Skin irritation refers to the inflammation of the skin because of environmental factors, medical conditions, or exposure to harmful substances. It is characterized by rashes and swollen skin, which is often red, itchy, and painful. The progression of skin irritations can also lead to the formation of blisters and raw skin patches. Skin irritations can be a result of many different things, from your genes to external triggers. To find the right treatment for irritated skin, it is important to figure out the underlying cause of the irritation. While some may go away with the right cleansers, moisturizers, lotions, and cortisone creams, others may require more specialist treatment.
Skin Irritation – Causes
If you have any form of skin irritation, here are some possible reasons that can be causing it –
Extremely dry skin: If you have very dry skin, it can lead to skin irritation. Besides itching, some people are also known to experience flaking, peeling, and cracked skin.
Bug bites: Bug bites are vastly different from mosquito bites. With a bug bite, your skin will itch for a short period of time, and eventually, any swelling goes away on its own. Bugs, on the other hand, tend to live on the skin for a longer time and the itch resulting from bug bites can be long-lasting too. Bug bites can result from mites, lice, and bed bugs, and the treatment for each of these is different too.
Skin conditions: Quite often the skin irritation can be a result of a medical skin condition. These can range from chickenpox, folliculitis, psoriasis, hives, shingles, ringworm, and HFM disease. Besides these, it can also be caused by Atopic dermatitis, Neurodermatitis, Dyshidrotic eczema, and Seborrheic dermatitis. To get relief from the resultant itchiness, it is important to first get an accurate diagnosis. With psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, finding relief from irritation can be more of a challenge.
Skin cancer: Skin cancer is often hard to identify. Most people notice it because the spot keeps changing and tends to itch from time to time. If you suspect that you have skin cancer, it is important to get it checked by a certified dermatologist who can help you with the right treatment.
Medical conditions: Skin irritation that lasts for a long time can also be a warning sign of a medical condition like diabetes, blood disease, liver disease, kidney disease, overactive thyroid gland, and HIV. When a person with advanced kidney disease is in need of dialysis, they can experience skin irritation, especially on the arms, back, and legs. For liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis C and obstructed bile duct, itchiness can be experienced in the soles and the palms, eventually spreading to other parts of the body. To get relief from disease-associated skin irritation, it is important to get the right diagnosis and treatment from a dermatologist.
Allergic reaction: Skin irritation in for form of rash and uncontrollable itchiness is the most common symptom of an allergic reaction. Many people are allergic to nickel. This means that when they come in contact with jewelry, cell phones, zippers, belt buckles, and other items containing nickels, they develop skin irritation. Other common substances which cause an allergic reaction in people are latex, nail polishes, shampoos, fragrances, and cement. To get relief from the reaction, it is important to first determine the cause of the allergy so that it can be avoided in the future. Besides this, it is best to resist the urge of touching or scratching the itchy rashes resulting from a skin reaction.
Reactions from plants and marine life: In many cases, skin irritation could be a result of coming in contact with certain plants and marine life. There are many plants that are known to cause skin irritation in people, like stinging nettle, giant hogweed, wild parsnip, and others. The most famous plant known for causing itchy rashes on the skin is poison ivy. Besides this, you can also develop rashes after swimming in lakes, ponds, and oceans. It is commonly known as the Swimmer’s Itch and is caused by the parasites in these water bodies that burrow into your skin. You might notice tiny red spots and, in some cases, they can also lead to blisters and hives. Although these rashes tend to go away on their own in a few weeks, it is always best to be careful around marine life and plants.
Age-related factors: Skin irritations can become more frequent if you are 65 years or older. This is because our skin changes when we age. It becomes thinner and its moisture-retaining capacity also decreases. The dryness can eventually lead to itchiness and skin irritation. If you have age-related dryness and skin irritation, using a good quality moisturizer can be of help.
Cancer treatment and medication: Sometimes skin irritation can be a result of side effects from medications like opioids, aspirin, and blood pressure medications. It can also be a side effect of cancer treatment in many cases. If you suspect that the skin irritation is medication-related, you can consult a dermatologist for treatment options.
Nerve problems: If there is nerve damage in an area, it can often lead to skin irritation in that part. Whether the nerve damage is because of injury or disease, it can cause incessant itchiness in the skin. In diseases like stroke, shingles, and multiple sclerosis, the itchiness can be confined to one part. When the rash eventually goes away, the skin can feel tingly and numb.
Skin Irritation – Characteristics/Symptoms
As we have already stated, there can be many causes of skin irritation. While in some cases, it can be the result of an allergic reaction, in other cases it could be because of a medical condition. The general symptoms of skin irritation are redness and raised bumps with an itchy sensation.
You might also experience a combination of –
Flaking and scaling of the skin
Different allergies come with their own signs and symptoms, and the reactions can also change with time. There can be times when you might expect to experience the same symptoms after being exposed to a trigger, however, the symptoms manifest in a different way. In such cases, it is best to seek the help of a dermatologist.
Skin Irritation – Solutions
The treatment of skin irritations largely depends on the cause behind it. However, there are some solutions that can help in bringing relief to irritated skin. Besides avoiding contact with triggers and irritants, you should also refrain from taking hot showers if you have irritated skin.
Applying a skin barrier or moisturizer can also help with providing the skin with much-needed relief. You should also avoid scratching your skin as it could prolong your pain and lead to more irritation. Besides, you stand the risk of developing a skin infection.
Here are some tried and tested ways to soothe irritated skin –
1. Apply an ice pack or wet cloth to the irritated skin for around 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the process until the itching subsides.
2. Applying oatmeal to your skin can help relieve any itchiness and skin irritation. Oatmeal baths are also great for blisters due to chickenpox, sunburns, or poison ivy.
3. Hydrate your skin with a good non-comedogenic moisturizer. Choose one which is free of fragrances, additives, and perfumes.
4. Apply topical anesthetic products that contain pramoxine.
5. Use cooling agents like calamine and method to soothe irritation, however, be careful not to apply it if you have open wounds from the blisters.
In case of skin allergies, the best thing is to avoid the triggers. If you suspect that you were exposed to a trigger, you can take preventative medicines like antihistamines to stop them from flaring up. Certain other prescription medicines like topical corticosteroids can help in relieving itching and inflammation from allergic skin irritation.
These come in the form of desoximetasone, flurandrenolide, diflorasone diacetate and fluocinonide. An over-the-counter alternative for these medications is hydrocortisone. For extreme allergic reactions, your dermatologist or healthcare provider might also prescribe oral or injectable steroids to reduce swelling.
1. Shorter baths: Try to limit your time in the shower to around 5-10 minutes and make sure to bathe in warm water rather than hot.
2. Fragrance-free products: Apply cleansers, body washes, lotions, and detergents that are fragrance-free as they are known to reduce irritation. If you find any product with ‘unscented’ on the label, you should refrain from using those too as they might still contain some harsh chemicals.
3. Moisturization: Use the topical medications recommended by the dermatologist before you apply the moisturizer. Make sure you apply a good quality moisturizer to all the skin areas including the part where you applied the ointment.
4. Loose-fitting clothes: To prevent further irritation, try to wear loose-fitting clothes that do not rub against the skin. You should also switch to cotton fabrics.
5. Avoid temperature changes: Extreme changes in temperature can aggravate irritated skin. Try to maintain a neutral and cool environment in the house. Use a humidifier in winters if you are prone to eczema and dry skin.
6. Avoid stress: Stress can make skin irritation worse, so it is best to look for ways to reduce stress as much as possible.
Skin Irritation – Recommendations
When choosing skincare products for irritated skin, look for formulations that include skin-friendly ingredients like –
sea buckthorn oil
Here are some of our recommendations for great products for irritated skin –
Wow Skin Science Aloe Vera Body Lotion: This plant-powered body lotion contains the goodness of aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter. It can help in providing the right amount of hydration to irritated skin.
Here are some expert tips for treating irritated skin naturally –
1. Cold Shower
Showering in cold water can greatly help with reducing the severity of skin allergies and irritation. When you bathe in cold water, it causes your blood vessels to shrink which prevents histamine from coming out. This helps in preventing the flare-up from escalating further.
2. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil can also work as a great moisturizer for irritated skin. It contains vitamin E, which can help in repairing and healing the skin. It also helps in reducing itchiness and keeping the skin hydrated.
3. Baking Soda
This is an excellent natural treatment for skin allergies. You can either apply it to your body after making a paste with water, or you can simply add it to the water. Remember to wash it off after a few minutes as it can lead to irritation if left on for longer.
4. Medicinal Plants and Herbs
There are many herbs and plants like Neem, Aloe Vera, and Calendula that have excellent antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-irritant properties. You can apply a paste of these medicinal plants to your body to soothe skin allergies.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV contains some great anti-irritant and antiseptic properties that can help in reducing itching and moisturizing the skin. All you have to do is apply organic apple cider vinegar to the affected area and leave it on for a few minutes. You can then rinse it off and proceed with moisturization as per usual.
This article has hopefully helped you in learning more about treating skin irritations. Equipped with the right knowledge, you will now be able to make better choices when it comes to seeking out treatments for irritated skin.