Did you know your largest organ is on the outside of your body? Skin is the largest organ and the first defense measure the body has at protecting itself against harmful pathogens.
When skin is irritated, it will become inflamed.
Inflammation can cause skin reddening, swell, and become sensitive to touch.
Several things can cause skin inflammation: infections, drug overuse, injury, environmental toxins, and sunburn are some of the most common causes of skin inflammation.
What is skin inflammation?
The medical term for skin inflammation is dermatitis, but most people refer to it as a rash or eczema.
Dermatitis generally does not cause serious health problems, but it can cause severe discomfort. It is a common inflammation, but the causes of dermatitis differ and depending on the cause, we can recognize several types of the skin inflammation.
However, regardless of a specific cause, it is always the skin’s reaction to allergens or irritants.
When specific substances irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction, the rash occurs on areas of the body that have come in contact. Common triggers are poison ivy, disinfectants, soaps, detergents, cosmetic in general, perfumes, and essential oils.
Metals such as nickel, cobalt, and cement can also cause our skin to react where usual symptoms of redness or itching can appear. Some plants such as mustard and clematis may impact the immune system which will result in skin’s reaction.
Irritants will physically damage the skin, while allergens will trigger a reaction from the immune system.
Contact dermatitis comes with different symptoms depending on:
● The sensitivity of your skin
● On the cause
We can recognize two types of contact dermatitis: allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.
Allergic type of dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to a certain substance and develops an allergic reaction. Common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are cosmetics, metals and poison ivy.
The symptoms include:
● Dry, scaly, flaky skin
● Skin redness
● Extreme itching
● Skin that appears darkened or leathery
● Skin that burns
● Sun sensitivity
● Swelling in the eyes and face
The most common type of contact dermatitis is irritant contact dermatitis that happens when the skin is in contact with toxins.
The causes of irritant contact dermatitis are bleach, kerosene, detergents, drain cleaners and even soaps and water.
The symptoms include:
● Cracking skin
● Extreme skin dryness
● Stiff or tight skin
● Open sores
How is contact dermatitis usually treated?
Most times contact dermatitis does not pose any serious threat and goes away on its own. The best way to protect the skin is to decrease exposure to those substances and materials that can trigger the skin’s reaction.
Here is a piece of advice on how to treat your skin:
● Stop using cosmetics that can trigger contact dermatitis
● Do not scratch your skin; scratching can make the skin infection worse
● Clean the skin with lukewarm water and mild soap
● If the rash is close to your eyes or mouth, search medical advice
Atopic dermatitis is known as eczema, and although the cause isn’t clear it usually happens when the body is allergic to certain food and allergens in the environment. The major health concern is that atopic dermatitis impacts skin’s ability to hold moisture.
This type of skin inflammation usually runs in the family. People who have atopic dermatitis also have a family history of asthma and hay fever and occurs most often in infants and children.
What can cause atopic dermatitis?
● Detergents and harsh soaps
● Certain foods, such as milk, fish, eggs, peanuts, wheat, or soy products
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include dry, itchy skin and blisters, while itching is the most common symptom. People who have “super sensitive” skin are the first to develop atopic dermatitis.
When the inflammation becomes chronic, it appears as thickened, elevated plaques of scaling skin. Mild atopic dermatitis affects a small area of the skin and it can be treated with moisturizer. A severe form of atopic dermatitis is spread over a large area of the skin, and it becomes very itchy.
The affected areas in children are usually neck, wrist, ankles, legs, elbows, and knees. In babies, it is usually the scalp and face (cheeks), knees, and the back of the elbow. In adults, the rash and itching appear on elbows, knees and neck.
How is atopic dermatitis treated?
You can treat mild atopic dermatitis at home. To prevent it, moisturize skin and avoid food and materials that can trigger the rash: detergents and harsh soaps.
Neurodermatitis starts with a patch of itchy skin, that can become thick and leathery. If scratching cannot be controlled, a person can develop itchy spots, usually on the area around neck, forearm, wrist, ankle and thigh.
This type of inflammation is known as lichen simplex chronicus and although it is not contagious or life-threatening, it can become annoying and intense and impact sleep and quality of life.
The cause of neurodermatitis is not known. Sometimes starts with a bug bite. There are situations when neurodermatitis can be associated with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis or dry skin. Stress and anxiety can trigger the urge to repeatedly scratch.
Symptoms of neurodermatitis are:
● Itchy skin patches
● Leathery or scaly texture on the skin
● Rough patches, which are red or darker than the rest of the skin
Treatments for neurodermatitis are different but the success of the treatment mostly depends on resisting the urge to scratch the affected area. Sometimes creams can help ease the urge.
Who is affected?
● Women are more at risk of developing neurodermatitis
● People between ages 30 to 50 are usually affected
● People who have a family history of psoriasis, eczema or other skin conditions
● Stress and anxiety can trigger the urge to scratch
Stasis dermatitis is also known as venous stasis dermatitis, gravitational dermatitis, and venous eczema. Stasis dermatitis occurs when there is a problem with blood flow, that is the veins, in the lower legs. The pressure in the vein valves makes the fluid leak out of the veins into the skin.
This type of dermatitis develops in people who have a problem with circulation. The causes of stasis dermatitis are:
Early signs of this condition are swelling around the ankle, discolored skin and varicose veins. Severe stasis dermatitis can cause larger ulcers, oozing, and infection. Paying attention to the sign and symptoms can prevent severe dermatitis.
This condition typically occurs across the face, inside of the ears and nose as it affects skin areas with sebaceous glands. The back, neck and chest can be affected as well. The causes of seborrheic dermatitis are unknown but scientist concluded that a yeast called Malassezia, which is present in the skin’s oily secretions, can be responsible. Parkinson’s, stress and fatigue can also trigger seborrheic dermatitis.
We are familiar with this condition under the term “cradle crap” affecting children and infants.
How to recognize this skin condition?
● Reddish color on the skin
● Swollen appearance
● Scaly, greasy patches
● White or yellowish crusty scale on the surface
Cradle cap usually goes away on its own and permanently disappears between 6 months and 1 year of age. Seborrheic dermatitis in adults is long-lasting and it comes and goes for the rest of their lives.
Perioral dermatitis, also called periorificial dermatitis, is a condition that mainly affects women between the ages of 16 to 45 years, but it can also affect children. It is a rash around the mouth, associated with the use of cosmetics, topical steroids, moisturizers, and sunscreen. The inflammation can develop around the nose and eyes where redness, itching and burning can occur and small bumps that resemble acne.
Perioral dermatitis can go away and come back later and the cause is unknown. However, nasal sprays that contain corticosteroids may cause it and skin creams that contain petrolatum or a paraffin base may worsen the inflammation.
Certain things can trigger perioral dermatitis:
● Bacterial infection
● Fungal infections
● Toothpaste with fluoride
● Oral contraceptives
Dermatitis herpetiformis is caused by an allergy to gluten, a substance found in wheat, rye and other grains. The burning skin rash and itching occur on the scalp, elbows, shoulders, knees, back, and buttocks. This type of dermatitis indicates gluten intolerance, and it may be related to a more serious condition, celiac disease.
It can affect anyone, and although more women are diagnosed with celiac disease, men are more likely to develop dermatitis herpetiformis. People who have a family member diagnosed with celiac disease should maintain a strict gluten-free diet.
A dermatologist will tell you if your skin condition is contact dermatitis or a more serious condition, and whether the suggested home remedies can help your condition.
How to cure skin inflammation using natural remedies?
The important part of treating any type of skin inflammation is prevention. This means lifestyle changes.
Before you decide to introduce new healthy habits into your life, you need to understand that good results will not come overnight.
You will have to invest time, energy and patience if you want to see fruits of your effort.
That being said, we can now look into more specific ways you can prevent and cure skin inflammation.
Heal Skin from the Inside with Diet Changes
The food you eat does not only affect the way you feel but also affect the way your skin looks and feels.
You can get healthy glowing skin by avoiding junk food and eating a diet composed of 75 percent raw food.
You should drink at least eight glasses of water every day. In addition to drinking water, you can also add sugar-free juices and herbal teas to your diet.
You can reduce inflammation by eating foods that are high in antioxidants.
What food can fight inflammation?
Food rich in antioxidants.
Do you know that spinach, onions, blueberries, and strawberries contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation?
Fresh pineapple and papaya contain the enzymes bromelain and papain, these enzymes reduce swelling and inflammation. The enzymes in pineapple and papaya should reduce the inflammation and swelling in six days.
Do you know that cold-water fish, such as mackerel and salmon also help clear skin?
● Sweet potatoes
● Red peppers
● Black beans
● Olive oil
Avoid or limit these foods:
● Refined carbohydrates
● Fried food
● Sugar-sweetened beverages
● Processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
Heal Skin from the Outside with Essential Oils
Herbal remedies are a natural way to cure skin inflammation. Lavender, evening primrose, and chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties that can heal irritated skin. You should mix these essential oils with a carrier oil before you apply them to your skin.
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer. It can prevent the skin from drying and becoming itchy and irritated. Virgin coconut oil is shown to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study done in India, researchers found out that the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil can reduce inflammation and treat arthritis more effectively than medications.
More research showed that coconut oil treats dermatitis and other similar skin conditions as effectively as mineral oil and conventional moisturizers.
How to use it?
Rinse your hands with water, pat them dry and rub the coconut oil onto the affected areas. Let it dry on your skin. Apply daily as needed.
Jojoba oil is not an oil, it is, in fact, a liquid wax, but its molecular structure is similar to that of our skin (sebum). It is rich and moisturizing; jojoba oil blends well with essential oils.
Pour 1/4 cup of carrier oil in a dry container and add 1tsp of the essential oil of your choice. Apply the mixture to your irritated skin after showering, gently massaging the affected skin. Apply it 3 times a day. Store the mixture away from heat and light.
Make a soothing butter from butter-jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax
Many of the healing benefits of shea come from fatty acids and that’s why it can effectively soften damaged skin. Beeswax is in fact only used to thicken this butter, but it can also help protect the skin.
To make a butter you will need:
● 6 tablespoons of coconut oil
● 4 tablespoons of jojoba oil
● 2 tablespoons shea butter
● 2 tablespoons beeswax
In a double boiler melt down the beeswax and jojoba completely and add in coconut oil once they are melted. Stir until it is fully melted, lower the heat and add the shea butter. Stir it as it melts.
Pour the mixture into airtight glass jars. Add a drop or two of lavender essential oil if you like it. Place the cover on and allow it to cool. Apply to affected areas as needed.
Make a cream
You can also treat dermatitis with a homemade cream. Blend 25 drops of essential oil into a natural unscented lotion.
The homemade cream will last longer than the essential oil mixture, but the cream should also be stored away from heat and light.
Heal skin with homemade remedies
Clay is a natural remedy for itching and a number of skin issues, for instance, acne. Scratching can only offer temporary relief, and damage your skin and worsen inflammation.
Clay is rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and other minerals, which makes it the perfect paste that will stop the itching and bring down inflammation.
You will need:
● 1/2 cup of green clay
● Water or witch hazel extract
Mix the clay in a bowl or cup with a bit of filtered water or witch hazel. The consistency of the clay should be as creamy as peanut butter. Use the paste onto itchy areas, and let it dry. Once it has dried, rinse it off under cool water, gently pat dry with a soft, clean, cloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial vinegar. It relieves itching, especially when it is associated with dry skin, for instance sunburns and dandruff.
Just put a few drops of it onto a cotton ball and dab it onto the affected area. If possible, use raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Peppermint is great for itching, as it provides a cooling sensation. The easiest way to use it is to crush up the leaves and rub the peppermint directly onto the skin.
You can freeze the crushed peppermint leaves into ice cubes for a double cooling sensation. Ice cubes will help to bring down swelling and inflammation.
Aloe Vera is probably the best-known remedy for sunburns. It can effectively soothe the skin and relieve swelling and irritation.
How can you use it?
Break off a leaf from the plant, cut it open lengthwise from top to bottom using a knife. Scoop out the gooey gel and rub it directly onto affected areas.
Chemical constituents in oatmeal have anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds are called avenanthramides.
To make an oatmeal poultice, you only need water and a cup or a bowl of uncooked oatmeal. Add a bit of water to a bowl and let it sit until it reaches a paste-like consistency.
Apply the paste to the skin as needed.
More Tips to Prevent Skin Inflammation
Dermatitis is not completely unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to prevent skin inflammation.
● Moisturize your skin daily with a natural unscented lotion.
● Perfume lotions can dry your skin. Use unscented laundry products.
● Scented laundry products have harsh chemicals that can rub off on your skin. Find out what your allergies are.
Do not forget to eat foods that are high in vitamin A, B, C, and E, and drink more water.
How do you treat skin inflammation?