Irritated Skin: Causes And The Best Treatments

sara.rosssara.ross
Apr. 29
Occasionally, the skin on our face can become red and irritated for a number of reasons. These can range from sensitivities to certain allergens to actual skin conditions, so it’s important to get to the root of the problem and treat it accordingly. After all, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’, so you need to figure out what’s going to work best for you and your particular ailment.
That’s why we’ve listed the most common causes of red, irritated skin and laid out the steps to take to solve the problem – before you know it, you’ll be back to looking your usual radiant self! 
Symptom #1
Dry patches on the face that turn red and raw, due to reasons such as skin sensitivities to certain ingredients (especially retinoids), windburn, and sunburn.
Treatment
First of all, if red, raw, dry patches have appeared on your skin as a result of sensitivity to certain ingredients, stop using those products immediately! Retinoids, which are usually found in anti-aging products, are common irritants, so check if any of your beauty products contain them and, if so, stop using them until your skin improves – then, start introducing them back into your skin care regime gradually.
Next – and for everything else – you should apply a good moisturizer to the affected area. Ideally, it should contain antioxidants such as licorice extract and ceramides to really help soothe and relieve the rawness. The real “wonder product” here, though, is 1% hydrocortisone cream – just gently apply a pea-sized amount to the affected area twice a day for no more than a week. This "chases away inflammatory cells and constricts blood vessels to get the red out," according to New York City dermatologist David Bank.  
Symptom #2
Flaky, almost scaly-looking skin (often concentrated around the nose, eyebrows, and/or ears) as a result of seborrheic dermatitis.
Treatment
According to Heidi Waldorf, Director of Laser and CosmeticDermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, seborrheic dermatitis “means your skin cells are turning over too quickly, getting sticky, and not shedding as they should." Luckily, however, there’s a relatively simple solution to this unsightly problem: wash the affected area once a day with a mild (no more than 0.5%) salicylic acid cleanser, then apply a gentle moisturizer afterward. This will help to loosen the flakes and prevent new ones from forming. If the issue is particularly bad, however, and this doesn’t work, you may need to find a stronger cream to apply also – a fungus-fighting cream such as Lotrimin should probably do the trick, although you may have to apply it a couple of times a day for more severe dermatitis. If this still doesn’t solve the problem, contact a dermatologist.  
Symptom #3
Rashes or itchy pink patches as a result of contact dermatitis, which is effectively an allergy to something that you’ve come into contact with. Certain ingredients in perfumes and metallic makeup are common allergens – as are parabens and even the nickel found in a lot of costume jewelry.
Treatment
The best thing to do before applying any specific product is to hold a cold milk compress on the affected area for approximately 10 minutes – this is because milk contains anti-inflammatory molecules that will help to soothe the skin, according to dermatologist Amy Wechsler. For some people, this may actually be all that’s needed to solve the problem.
If, however, you need to take further action, just gently dab a small amount of 1% hydrocortisoneointment on the area twice a day – Joshua Zeichner, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City recommends this instead ofa cream, as ointments are generally less irritating as they usually contain no preservatives. If your skin is broken, you’ll also need to treat it with an antibiotic ointment twice a day to ensure it does not become infected. Lastly, dermatologist Jeannette Graf states that Benadryl helps to relieve itching and swelling. 
Luckily, red, irritated skin can often be treated fairly easily– and without having to use a multitude of strong, expensive products. However, if they continue to persist despite trying the remedies outlined in this article, it’s important to contact and see a dermatologist, as they’ll be able to investigate further into the underlying cause and, therefore, suggest alternative, stronger treatments that aren’t necessarily available over the counter. 
Hopefully, with this advice, you’ll be able to adopt the correct stance when it comes to your red, irritated skin and get back to your usual radiant self in no time! 
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