Anyone who’s ever had irritated skin knows how uncomfortable -- and sometimes even painful -- the experience can be.
Although symptoms can be different depending on the situation, irritated skin often feels itchy, painful, and raw. It can look red and inflamed, and at its worst, you can even see the top layer of skin peeling.
Skin irritation can be caused by a variety of factors too, like overexfoliation, sunburn, or an allergic reaction. But by finding out what’s causing the irritation, you can prevent it from happening again.
Keep reading to learn how to soothe irritated skin when it happens, and how to reduce the chances of you getting it again in the future.
What Causes Redness and Irritation on Your Face?
If you’re an avid fan of exfoliation, sometimes you can irritate your skin by exfoliating too often and disrupting your skin’s natural moisture barrier. With at-home chemical peels and stronger exfoliation formulations now available, this problem happens much more often than you think.
The most common culprits in this situation? Retinols, AHAs, and BHAs, although face scrubs and cleansing brushes can play a part in this too.
Other times irritation can be caused by an allergic reaction or a skin condition like eczema.
If you find yourself in colder temperatures, the chances of skin irritation also go up. This happens more often in the fall and winter because your skin dries out easily, which makes it more susceptible to other irritants.
Finally, irritation can also be caused by stress and anxiety. Stress triggers production of the hormone cortisol, which can set off a chain reaction of stress-related skin issues. Without proper stress management, you may eventually find yourself dealing with acne, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis in addition to the inflammation caused by stress.
How to Calm Irritated Skin and Reduce Redness
Whip up this simple three-ingredient face mask.
If you’re currently experiencing skin irritation, you probably want a fix for it now. Well, you’re in luck. Get instant relief with this easy DIY face mask.
Mix 1/3 cup of ground up oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of cold plain yogurt, and 2 tablespoons of honey until you have a thick paste. Apply it to your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse it off and apply a soothing moisturizer.
Applying oatmeal topically calms your skin, and a 2008 study found that compounds called avenanthramides help to reduce redness and inflammation in your skin. Meanwhile, honey has long been used for healing wounds because of its skin-soothing and antibacterial properties as well. Combine that with yogurt’s own anti-inflammatory qualities, and you have a triple threat remedy for skin irritation.
What other ingredients should you look out for to reduce redness?
In addition to the three ingredients above, the humble tub of Vaseline can also be used to soothe irritated skin. Yes, you read that right.
Simple skincare is important when it comes to nursing your skin back to health, and pure petroleum jelly is a top recommendation by the American Academy of Dermatology for dry skin.
Aloe is another ingredient known for its soothing and healing properties, which is why it’s a time-honored remedy for sunburns. Chamomile, cucumber, licorice root, and soy are other ingredients to look out for when you have irritated and dry skin.
Look to our Hydration Booster 10X for hyaluronic acid, soybean extract, aloe, and green tea extract all wrapped up in a convenient bottle. It’s often used to soothe and calm skin after laser and peel procedures, which speaks to its effectiveness for all kinds of skin irritation and inflammation.
Focus on nursing your skin back to health.
In addition to soothing your skin now, you’ll also want to take steps to bring your skin back to normal.
While your skin is recuperating, scale back your skincare regimen. Focus on the basics: a gentle cleanser, a fragrance-free moisturizer, any hydrating serums or toners you have on hand, and a trusty sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Irritated skin goes hand-in-hand with a compromised moisture barrier, so you’ll want to supply yours with enough water until it’s back to optimal health. Sunscreen will also be incredibly important during this time, as the SPF will protect your skin from harsh UV rays.
Don’t even think about using any actives, fragranced products, or anything else that could irritate your skin further.
Stick to this simple routine until your skin calms down, and then -- and only then -- can you slowly reintroduce your other products, one at a time for a week each. If you think that one of your products caused the irritation, this method will also make it easier to find the culprit.
Find out what triggers your skin irritation.
Whether it’s something you ate or something you came into contact with (or something else entirely), you’ll want to learn what caused the irritation so you can avoid it in the future.
If you suspect you have an allergy to something, talk to your doctor about doing a patch allergy test for confirmation.
On the other hand, if your irritation is caused by stress, you may want to look into simple stress-relieving practices like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.
Just like us, sometimes our skin needs to take a break when it’s stressed. Don’t be afraid to keep things simple for a bit while you focus on bringing your skin back to optimal health. When it comes to calming irritated skin, that’s really the best thing you can do for it right now.
If these tips don’t help, your irritation may be caused by something else. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor or dermatologist for further guidance. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s an allergy or another skin condition.
Have any questions about skin irritation? Want to know the best soothing products to use for your skin type? Talk to the experts! Our skincare specialists are ready to help you with all of your skincare needs and issues.