Most Common Causes of Skin Irritation

The skin is the largest organ of the body and virtually its first defense barrier. This is why the first contact with irritants in the environment occurs in the skin. Dermatitis is a general term used to describe a wide range of skin inflammation. Some types of dermatitis are triggered by internal causes, by certain chemical processes in the body, this category includes eczema, which is usually hereditary and can be triggered by stress, allergies (food, drug, for example) and asthma.

In this article we will present the most common causes of skin irritations.

1. Plants

Plants causing skin irritation are: poison ivy, wild oak and sumac. Any of these can cause different reactions, but serious. If a person comes into contact with poison ivy, skin will redden, it will inflame, itching and blistering. These symptoms may occur up to 2-3 weeks. The allergic reaction is caused by urushiol, a substance in plants. Treatment prescribed by a doctor will contain steroids administered orally to reduce inflammation.

2. Household products

On most household products it is mentioned clearly that these products should not be inhaled, swallowed, come in contact with eyes etc. You can avoid exposure by wearing gloves while using the products.

Household products that can irritate the skin: cleaners can contain ammonia, trisodium phosphate and other chemicals that are designed to remove grease and stains on porous surfaces; products for cleaning windows usually contain ammonia and isopropanol; dishwasher detergents can dry and cause flaky skin with prolonged use; substances for cleaning / disinfecting toilet or removing mold, pesticides; products used to unclog drain pipes have sulfuric acid in their composition.

3. Laundry detergents

Prolonged exposure of the skin to laundry detergent can cause skin irritation. Detergent used for washing clothes contains the following ingredients:

–          Surfactant that dissolves in water and removes dirt and grease from fabrics

–          Substances that support the action surfactant with a high mineral content

–          Enzymes that are designed to remove organic stains containing proteins (such as traces of blood or grass)

–          Chlorine, which whitens textiles and disinfects

–          Oxygen

–          Optical brighteners

–          Fragrances that mask the chemical smell of detergent

Even bleaches without chlorine can cause burns, but the substance can be removed by rinsing with water.

4. Products with sunscreen

Sunscreens are used to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

There are two types of sunscreens:

– Natural or mineral screens – The composition of some of these include zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which reflects and disperses UV rays before they penetrate the skin.

– Chemical filters – are frequently marketed although sunscreen chemicals penetrate the skin and absorb UV rays.

Sunscreen products contain chemicals that may trigger specific allergic reactions. Unfortunately, there isn’t a variety of filters for sunscreen manufacturers from which to choose.

5. Insects

Whether you like it or not, the outdoor means various insects. Surely you tried to protect yourself with repellents to prevent bites, stings and other sensations caused by them, but it is good to know that repellents can cause skin irritation.

The best skin protection against mosquito bites is clothing. If you are going to spend a long time in nature, consider buying a special outfits that can protect from insects.

6. Heat

In hot and humid days there is the risk of skin rashes caused by heat. They can trigger symptoms such as blisters, swelling, red papules, redness etc. Prevent rashes caused by heat by moving in cool places, although there are cases in which this type of allergy can defy weather conditions.

7. Shaving and waxing

Shaving can cause irritation when you do not apply enough lubricant on the skin surface. Lubrication means you can use a shaving cream or a thick layer of foam soap. Without lubrication, shaving may cause damage to the the skin, causing irritation and scratching.

People who use hair removal creams have reported allergic reactions and chemical burns accompanied by itching, redness, blistering, burning and peeling of the skin. If you experience any of these reactions when testing a depilatory cream, wash the area well to remove the product and avoid using it.

Wax removes hair from the follicle, so the effect is long lasting. Over a period of several hours, this hair removal method can cause redness, burning, itching and even skin inflammation as a result of the trauma to the skin.

Permanent hair removal can be a tempting and long term solution. This method prevents skin irritation and the inconveniences caused by regular shaving and waxing. Both electrolysis and laser hair removal may cause temporary pain and stinging. After the procedure, for a short time, the skin will be red and slightly swollen. Symptoms can be dimmed using anti-inflammatory medications and ointments.

8. Cosmetics

Lotions, deodorants, acne treatments and other cosmetics can cause skin irritation if you have allergic reactions to the substances in their composition or if the chemicals break down into hazardous substances. Some antiperspirants, for example, can cause allergic reactions such as itching and rash.

Cosmetics may contain active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids that can irritate or damage the skin. For this reason it is recommended to test every cosmetic product and use it as directed.

9. Soap

Your favorite soap may smell good, make foam. However, you should take into consideration that this could be the main culprit if you have dry skin and itching. Soap is a surfactant which in contact with water removes dirt and grease from the surface. Soap is the natural result of a chemical reaction between an alkaline and fat or oil.

Soap can irritate the skin in two ways:

– You may experience an allergic reaction to perfume or dye in its composition

– Soaps that strongly degrease the skin leaving it rough and inflexible can cause irritation

10. Clothing

Clothing can trigger skin irritations due to:

– Rough material

– Paints, applications and chemical additives used in the manufacture of the fabric

– Fasteners (zippers, snaps, etc.)

– The type of fabric (some fabrics do not allow the skin to breathe and dry quickly when sweating).