Treating and Preventing Skin Inflammation

by Sam Malone

Inflammation of the skin is a common reaction of the body to help ward off any infections or harmful allergens. In addition to inflammation, symptoms usually include redness, itchiness, and painful rashes. Most cases of skin inflammation tend to clear up even if left untreated. As long as you determine the underlying cause of the inflammation and take the necessary steps to treat it, symptoms such as swelling, redness, itchiness and skin rashes are relatively easy to cure. If the symptoms do not disappear in a few days time or they worsen and cause discomfort and pain, consult with your doctor or dermatologist at the earliest.

Causes

There are several possible factors that cause skin inflammation. Some of them are mentioned below.
  • Irritants and chemicals found in skin care products and detergents can lead to an allergic skin reaction and inflammation
  • Insect bites and stings can cause irritation, itchiness and inflammation.
  • Viral infections such as influenza, measles, and chickenpox can trigger the skin’s inflammatory response and result in itchy dry skin and a rash.
  • Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot may lead to an inflammation of the outer layer of the skin as a result of constant scratching.
  • Trauma to the skin as a result of an accident or injury can cause inflammation and swelling of the affected area.
  • Poor dietary habits and a lack of exercise can lead to obesity and chronic health problems. Side effects of an unhealthy lifestyle include inflammation, irritation of the skin and allergic reactions.
  • Smoking can speed up the aging process and break down the delicate skin tissues resulting in skin problems such as inflammation, acne, rashes and wrinkles.
  • Contact dermatitis is the most common cause of skin inflammation and occurs as a result of exposure to various allergens such as chemicals, foods, pollen, and animal hair.
  • Eczema is a skin condition that causes symptoms of inflammation, irritation and a skin rash.
  • Rosacea is a cyclic skin condition that results in inflammation and redness of the skin and severe pimples on the face.
  • Extreme heat and humidity can also cause a skin rash and inflammation.
  • Hives are an allergic skin reaction that leads to red welts on the skin, inflammation of the skin and itchiness.
  • Herpes Zoster is a viral infection that causes painful inflammation of the skin along with symptoms such as burning, itchiness and redness.
  • Factors such as stress and hormonal imbalances can also cause an inflammation of the skin.

Treatment

Over-the-counter medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines, or corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and pain. These can be taken in the form of tablets or as a topical cream or lotion. Long-term use of such medications is not recommended, as they tend to cause other side effects and complications. Other ways to treat skin inflammation include:
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Change the skin care products and detergents you use
  • Maintain high levels of hygiene
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet full of antioxidant rich fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use make-up that is mild and hypoallergenic
  • Wear clothes that are made of natural fibers such as cotton that allow the skin to breathe
  • Boost your immunity to fight allergic reactions and viral infections by increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Reduce your intake of foods high in carbohydrates and sugars as these can trigger off an inflammatory response in the body
  • Avoid exposure to the sun and always wear sunscreen whenever you step out

Home Remedies

Natural treatments and remedies for skin inflammation are often a better alternative as they rarely cause any long-term complications. That said it is always better to consult with your doctor before beginning any new treatment or alternative therapy to rule out any possible allergic reactions or other side effects. Some popular home remedies for skin inflammation include:
  • Calamine lotion or aloe vera gel applied to the affected area of the skin helps reduce pain and swelling and provides a protective layer to prevent scratching and further damage to the skin.
  • Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to the inflamed skin to reduce pain and swelling. You can repeat this process twice or thrice a day for instant relief. However, if your skin is broken or cut, avoid using a damp cloth as this will cause the infection to spread.
  • Warm water baths offer relief from itchy and dry skin and any inflammation. Add a cup of oatmeal to your bath to soothe your skin and treat any rash.
  • Foods that are rich in antioxidants and flavanoids such as spinach, strawberries and blueberries help reduce inflammation.
  • Bromelain found in pineapple and papain a compound in papaya are enzymes that help reduce swelling and irritation of the skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the inflamed skin and rash to provide instant relief.
  • Herbs such as Cat’s Claw, Ginger, Goldenseal, Red Clover and Yucca are all powerful anti-inflammatory agents and can be used to treat all types of infections and skin conditions.

References:
http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000869.htm#ixzz208EFl5O4

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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