Skin Inflammation

Skin inflammation is a very common problem and is usually a reaction of the body to various harmful agents like bacteria, chemical irritants or other factors that damage the human cells. While unpleasant, inflammation is a useful part of the body's internal defense mechanism. It starts the skin repair process and removes the toxic agents. While skin healing would be impossible without inflammation, it can also be dangerous. Too much inflammation can lead to infection and the area can be affected by several diseases.

Skin inflammation is an umbrella term for any kind of irritation of the skin but terms like eczema or rash are also commonly used. Skin inflammation is not normally a serious condition and can't be transmitted to others but it's still unpleasant and can be quite annoying.

Dermatitis is one of the most common health problems and pretty much every person has suffered from it several times at least. The extent of the rash varies in size, it can remain in a small area or expand to big parts of the skin. The change in skin color is characteristic for this condition, the skin usually becomes red, dark pink or even purple. Sometimes the surface can be covered with irregular dents, small bruises or pockets full of liquid. Since it's so common, dermatitis is not usually a serious condition and needs no special treatment but you should go see a doctor if it's connected with fever or other more severe problems.

There are many diseases that can cause skin inflammation, which is the most basic dermatologic problem. The severity varies from simple rashes that don't cause more than red skin and a bit of itching to severe chronic problems like psoriasis, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis or eczema. Some of these skin diseases can't be cured. Dermatitis is classified in two types: chronic or acute. Acute skin inflammation is most often caused by sun exposure or other sources of UV radiation. It can also be the result of other harmful stimulants like chemical toxins, cleaning products, allergens or radiation. Normally, acute inflammation goes away in one or two weeks without any permanent tissue damage. However, chronic inflammation is a lot more serious and is caused by an immune response inside the cells or other internal problems. It lasts a lot longer and can result in irreparable tissue damage.

Modern scientists have made a lot of progress but the complex mechanism of skin inflammation is still not fully explained. Basically, the process is triggered by emissions of special inflammation hormones named cytokines and chemokines by the cells in the skin, as a response to external harm like irritants, allergens or radiation. These compounds trigger a specific response in the target cells and result in the production of even more hormones that have the role of starting the inflammatory process. Some of them react with nerve cells, others increase the flow of blood in the area, while a third variety calls immune cells from the blood into the skin tissues. These defense cells will produce hormones of their own and use enzymes and free radicals to attack the area. The purpose is to kill the bacteria that attack the skin but it can sometimes have a nasty side effect and cause massive permanent skin damage. While the inflammatory response is effective against infection, its chronic form can be very dangerous.

Chronic versus acute inflammation

Minor wounds such as cuts lead to acute inflammation, a red patch of skin that can hurt and is sometimes full of pus. It's a normal repair response of the human body and is usually healed in maximum one week. Treatment is not necessary but there are a number of herbal remedies and oils that can relieve itching and reduce the pain.

The chronic form of inflammation is different and a lot more serious. In this case, an area of the body will have a long-term inflammatory reaction due to various causes. It shouldn't be confused with sepsis, or uncontrolled acute inflammation, which is even more dangerous condition. Chronic inflammation can be triggered by real or perceived external threats. The most likely factors are chemicals and pollutants, toxins found in processed food but also mental stress. The immune system can over-react to such stimulants and ignore the normal safety mechanisms, entering a high state of alert with potentially severe consequences.

Sadly, the modern environment is full of such threats for the skin. We are constantly stressed and our body is bombarded with harmful compounds every day. Chemicals can be found both in the air and in the junk food that we eat. It's very difficult for the body to deal with all attacks and sometimes the internal mechanisms stop working properly.

How to treat inflamed skin

Skin inflammation must be handled with care since the area will be very sensitive. The first step is to clean the inflammation with caution. Only soft materials should be used, without any scratching.

Patches of red skin on the face are especially sensitive. They are best cleaned with dedicated hypoallergenic facial care products but the area must be moist first, so wet the skin with the fingers or a piece of clean cloth and cold water. The cleaner can then be applied gently to the inflamed area and rinsed well with cold water since any remains can hurt the skin even more. Cold compresses can also reduce inflammation by cooling off the skin and are particularly effective when combined with a hydrating product. Lotions and gels with aloe vera, Damask rose oil and vitamin E are very good choices, the vitamin can also be applied directly from capsules. Products that include perfume should be avoided since any chemicals can cause more harm. Elma 01 skin ointment is an excellent skin care product that is effective against a wide range of skin conditions.

Proper hydration should always be the first treatment for skin inflammation. This is done very easily, you just need to apply clean water to the area. For even better results, add a small amount of antibacterial soap and wash the skin well. A very old home remedy that is considered to be very effective against inflamed skin is oatmeal. Wash the area with water mixed with two cups of oats until the water cools off, then rinse the oatmeal from the skin and pat it with a towel to dry it, without rubbing. A dedicated moisturizer like aloe vera or another similar product can be applied at the end.

However, if cleaning the wound is ineffective or the irritation gets worse, there are a few other possible cures. Irritation is often caused by cosmetics or cleaning products, so it's a good idea to change them and try different brands. There are also hypoallergenic products on the market, which are friendlier to the skin. Dry air can damage the skin in time and increase the severity of inflammation, so installing a humidifier in your room can moisture the skin while you sleep. Alcohol and drinks with a high content of caffeine can also cause dehydration, it's better to drink large amounts of normal water.

Prevention of skin inflammation

Some of the factors that cause skin inflammation are simply impossible to avoid. However, there are some steps that can be effective in reducing the chance of dermatitis, here a few ideas:

Proper hydration - In order to avoid dry skin, apply hydrating products and moisturizers in situations when it can happen, like after taking a bath or sun exposure. These products maintain the skin soft, which greatly reduces the risk of irritation and unpleasant scaling. Perfumes should be avoided since they are chemical in nature and can hurt the skin, but a doctor can tell you which scented products are safe to use. The most vulnerable areas of the body are the legs, arms, sides as well as the back.

Monitor your allergies - Allergies are another major cause of dermatitis. Many of them are genetic, so it helps a lot if you know the allergens that affect other family members, so you can avoid them. Once you know the risky ones, it's much easier to stay safe.

Hydrate - Drinking a lot of water every day is very good for overall health, not only for the skin. Good hydration will stop the skin from drying and prevent inflammation and red spots.

Proper nutrition - It's very important to eat healthy food, especially foods that are rich in vitamins A, E and C. These bioactive compounds increase the durability and repair rate of the skin, allowing it to resist against external threats.

Product choice - Many cosmetic or cleaning products have a harmful effect on the skin because of their chemical composition. Choose the ones with no aggressive chemical agents and use them gently.

The skin can be considered the frontier of our body, the first and most important line of defense against germs and toxins. Skin inflammation is a sign that something is wrong with it, we should not ignore it and take all steps to protect it from harm.