Our skin is one of our most prominent features. It makes up a significant part of our appearance. And coincidentally, how our skin looks is often a reflection of how our skin feels. Healthy skin, generally speaking, looks excellent. Unhealthy skin often looks and feels like it is unhealthy.
Skin irritations are not only quite uncomfortable, but they can look unpleasant and unseemly. Furthermore, skin irritations and the painful conditions they come with are pretty common. That’s how the field of dermatology came about, an entire branch of medicine dedicated solely to helping patients achieve healthier, cleaner, more natural-looking skin.
Thankfully, even though skin irritations are pretty common, there are also several ways in which we can treat irritated skin. And happily enough, a lot of these treatments can be done right in our own homes.
First, How Does Skin Become Irritated?
There are several circumstances that cause our skin to become irritated. Remember, our skin is the tough membrane that surrounds our entire bodies. It is the first defense against all aspects of the physical world. Our skin must protect our bodies from invasive substances, particles, objects, and other influences that could do us harm.
Basically, our skin’s health is affected by two different factors:
- Conditions outside of our bodies. Our skin is subjected to constant barrages, even if we don’t notice it. Daily, our skin is assailed by different types of water, different kinds of liquids, particles in the air, sunlight, certain levels of radiation, pollution, etc. Dry air, for example, can harm the skin and cause irritation. When the skin is subjected to excessively dry environments, that robs the skin of its inherent moisture content. Those conditions cause itching, redness, scaliness, inflammation, and general irritation.
- Conditions within our bodies. Skin irritations can also come about from internal, physical conditions. Such conditions include skin ailments like eczema, psoriasis, hives, shingles, etc. Contagious diseases can also affect the skin. All of these conditions are phenomena in which something within the body is affecting the skin.
According to Allure1, about 85 million people in the United States are living with skin conditions or skin diseases. Again, skin issues, whether they are caused by external or internal factors (or a combination of the two), are not uncommon.
But luckily, there is much we can do to soothe irritated skin.
Tips for Soothing Irritated Skin
The American Academy of Dermatology2 offers a great deal of helpful information on soothing irritated skin. Their proposed home remedies include:
- Applying a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the affected skin. This can be done off and on, for about five to ten minutes at a time, or until the skin irritation subsides.
- Taking an oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal binds to the skin and provides a unique, protective barrier against irritants. Oatmeal also has the quality of softening or soothing the skin thanks to natural emollients within oatmeal. And last but not least, oatmeal helps the skin maintain a healthy pH level.
- Moisturizing the skin. Moisturizing is the most common remedy for irritated skin. Nine times out of ten, irritated skin is an indicator of excessive dryness within the skin. The solution lies in adding moisture to the skin. That can be done with the help of organic skin creams and all-natural body lotions.
- Bathing in lukewarm water and using a humidifier. Skin irritants occur during drastic changes in both temperature and humidity. It is wise to bathe in lukewarm water (not hot water). One should keep a humidifier running in the house (especially during the winter). One should also avoid excessively hot or cold temperatures. Keeping these daily factors in place helps reduce the conditions that cause skin irritation.
While we can learn a lot from medical institutions like the American Academy of Dermatology, sometimes the best advice on reducing skin irritation comes from people who have skin irritations and who have figured out how to treat their conditions successfully.
A contributor for Healthline3 offered these three tips for reducing skin irritation:
- Drink lots of water! We don’t usually think of our water consumption as much during the winter months, but that’s a big mistake. Drinking enough water every day is just as crucial in the winter as it is in the summer. We might not be sweating as much, but the dryness of the season is sucking the moisture from our bodies, whether we know it or not. Therefore, drinking plenty of water (after all, it is water that hydrates the skin from the inside out) is one giant step towards reducing skin irritation.
- Be mindful of certain foods. Certain foods like cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, wheat, and peanuts can cause skin irritation in people who have allergies to those foods. For those of us with skin irritations, we may consider changing up our diets.
- Get lots of sleep, reduce stress. It has been proven that skin conditions are often caused by stress4. Not only does getting lots of sleep help the body heal and repair itself (and that includes restoring the skin), but plenty of sleep also helps reduce stress levels. We should think of getting a good night’s rest as accomplishing two objectives at once; reducing stress and healing the body physically.
Healthy, Clean, Clear, Itch-Free Skin is Attainable
There are lots of remedies for skin irritations. While it is true that most skin conditions are uncurable (eczema and psoriasis are usually permanent, genetic skin disorders), the symptoms of such conditions can be alleviated. It’s just a matter of trying different remedies and seeing what works best for each individual.
It does us great benefit when we drink lots of water, get lots of rest, and take care to create a diet that works for us. And remedies like oatmeal baths, moisturizers, humidifiers, warm showers, comfortable temperatures, cold water compresses, and other natural remedies are easy enough to come by. When we put in the effort, we can experience better results. And our skin will thank us!