Is your skin dry, red, itchy, and responds to even a simple moisturizer with stinging? Then the bad news is, you probably have irritated skin. The good news is, you’re not alone – and there’s hope!
Most of us have experienced irritated skin in our lives at one point or another, maybe because we had a reaction to a new product, or maybe because we live in a super dry, cold climate. Maybe you didn’t even know that’s what it was! But no matter how we happen upon irritated skin, it’s best to nip the problem in the bud while it’s manageable.
what is irritated skin?
Irritated skin is skin that has been exposed to an environmental or cosmetic irritant or aggravator. The type of irritant will vary from person to person, but could be the result of hot and cold extremes, over-scrubbing, or overuse of topical products.
Irritated skin is characterized by red, inflamed skin that can be either overly dry or overly oily. The skin may also sting and burn upon application of product, which can also result in a rash. When our skin is irritated, it can also affect our other skin issues, such as acne.
Irritated skin is a temporary state, which could also be called . You may be more prone to experiencing irritated skin if you have normally sensitive skin, but sensitive skin doesn’t necessarily have to be irritated.
how to soothe irritated skin
While irritated skin may eventually work itself out (provided the irritant/aggravator is eliminated), you don’t just need to ride it out – there are some things you can do to help soothe your irritated skin.
Use a cool compress.
Whether your irritated skin is mild or severe, a cool compress is a great idea to get rid of the inflammation often associated with irritation. If your skin feels warm, itchy and painful, try using something cool to soothe the pain. Apply a cold, wet cloth or an ice pack to the area for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Deep repair cream.
Using a deep repair cream can provide your skin with necessary tools it needs to soothe and heal. Look for products with protective emollients (jojoba, squalene, sunflower oil), humectants (hyaluronic acid, glycerin), and occlusives (dimethicone). For an added soothing kick, keep your deep repair cream in the fridge for a nice cool burst. You can also check out the Repairing Vitamin C Creme by Banish.
Colloidal oatmeal provides moisturizing lipids, acts as an anti-inflammatory humectant, and can provide many protective benefits for sensitized, irritated skin. Colloidal oatmeal is made up of finely milled oats suspended in water, or another type of liquid or gel, which allows it to be applied and absorbed easily.
It provides relief for allergic skin rashes, and can even stand in as a gentle cleanser while you get your skin back on track.
Moisture is what is most often needed when you have irritated skin. Look for similar ingredients that you’d look for when choosing a deep repair cream, but also choose a moisturizer that is free from fragrances, perfumes, and other potentially irritating ingredients.
In some persistent cases of irritated skin you might need to reach for the heavy hitters: calamine or lotion; both are used to temporarily relieve pain and itching from skin irritations, as well as dry and itchy skin.
Use a humidifier.
Cold, dry air saps moisture from your skin. And since we know that irritated skin needs moisture, using a in your room at night, especially if you live in a cold or dry climate, can help immensely with your irritated skin. Humidifiers pump moisture into the air, helping to dry, itchy, cracked skin.
Make a DIY mask.
masks are my go-to when my skin is feeling especially parched or inflamed. They help deliver much-needed moisture and cool calmness to the skin. I like to mix my cucumber mask with some oatmeal and banana for added benefit!
Keeping these tips in mind, we also have many on that are good for sensitive skin; while irritated skin is not the same, the product recommendations are similar – look for simple, gentle, and nourishing ingredients.
Irritated skin doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With a little due diligence and trial and error, you can find what works for your skin and what doesn’t, so that in the future you can avoid irritated skin altogether.