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Common Skin Irritants
Skin acts as the primary medium of defense against foreign bodies. Every day the skin is exposed to various types of irritants which may cause itching, irritation, swelling, and breakouts. Skin irritation can be triggered by various factors like seasonal changes, allergies, and chemicals. Diseases that are characterized by skin inflammation, redness, itching, and rash resulting from direct contact with an external agent is collectively termed as ‘Dermatitis’. In some cases, internal body conditions like stress, asthma, etc may also trigger the occurrence of dermatitis. It is often difficult to rule out the cause for the irritation. Once diagnosed, the symptoms can be minimized by use of over the counter ointments or lotions. However, if symptoms persist or become severe, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.
It is important to know about the common skin irritants and measures to keep your skin protected against them. Following are a list of common skin irritants that affect the skin
Some people develop skin irritation after using deodorants, cosmetics, and makeup items. Tips – use products which are free of fragrance and additives, check shelf-life of the product on the label, keep make-up brushes hygienic and free of bacteria, test the product on the skin before purchasing
Certain fabrics can cause skin irritation because of the roughness of the material, chemical additives or dyes in the clothes. Constant rubbing of skin against the fabric will result in rashes and to prevent bacterial infections always wear fabrics which allow the skin to breathe
Cleaning liquids/soaps contain hazardous chemicals that irritate the skin. It is advised to use protective gloves and skin friendly detergents/surface cleaners.
Several plants like English/Poison Ivy, hot peppers, Colocasia (Elephant ear plant), Oak, Sumac, Euphorbia, etc. can leave your skin red and itchy. The best prevention against these triggers is to keep your skin covered.
Sunscreens contain specific chemicals such as para-aminobenzoic acid that could provoke allergic reactions in some people. If your skin is sensitive, try different sunscreens until you find a suitable one.
Heat rash is a common type of skin problem that occurs due to extremely hot conditions. Tips – avoid excessive sweating, keep the body cool, take showers in cold water, wear loose-fitting clothes.
Some insect/bug bites and stings can cause skin irritation. Tips – Use of ice packs on the area, consumption of oral antihistamine drugs if directed by the physician.