No one wants to deal with irritated skin. But, sometimes it happens, and we have no idea why.
What made our skin so red? How can we treat it? And how to prevent it from happening again?
What Causes Irritations?
Lots of things (of course!):
- Freezing cold or torrid hot weather
- Sharing unsanitized makeup with others
- Skincare products with irritating ingredients
- Unprotected sun exposure
What Happens When Skin Is Irritated?
Lots of crappy things we could all do without:
- Premature aging: irritation and inflammation slow down the production of collagen, which is essential to keep skin firm and elastic.
- Dryness and flakiness: irritation disrupts the skin’s protective barrier, causing moisture to evaporate.
- Excessive oil production: irritation stimulates androgen (the hormone that controls sebum production) to produce more oil than skin needs, making skin shiny and pores bigger.
How Can I Tell When MY Skin Is Irritated?
Wait. The answer to this question isn’t as easy as it may seem at first. True, if skin is red, itchy, flaking, and stinging, you know that something’s wrong, and you’re very likely dealing with an irritation.
But, did you know that irritation and inflammation can also occur in the deeper layers of the skin? And, this inflammation NEVER shows up on the surface. So, yes, your skin can be irritated this very moment, and you don’t even know it.
This most likely happens when we use products with irritating ingredients. We tell ourselves, I know alcohol could be irritating, but my skin looks fine, so I can safely use it.
Nope, chances are it is causing damage where you can’t see it. So, how can we stop something we can’t see?
Related: Skin Irritation Or Allergy?
How do I prevent irritations?
The key to avoiding irritations is to treat your skin gently:
- Avoid beauty products with irritating ingredients (more on this below)
- Don’t use scrubs
- Wash your face/bath/shower with lukewarm water (hot water feels good, but can irritate it)
- Wear sunscreen every day
So, what skincare ingredients should I avoid?
Here’s a short list (which is by no means comprehensive) of the most common irritants found in skincare products:
- Alcohol Denat
- Citrus fruits
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Tea lauryl sulfate
- Witch hazel
Afraid you won’t remember them all? I’ve got you covered. Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive the “Irritating Ingredients Cheat Sheet” with the most irritating ingredients lurking in your cosmetics:
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These ingredients are problematic only when used in large amounts. If you find the ingredient listed towards the end of the label, there’s nothing to worry about. Even if it’s at the top, if you limit its use to only once in a while, no harm done. But high amounts used regularly? Please, don’t do that!
Do you know any other tip to avoid skin irritation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.