Filipina looking at red, irritated skin on her arm.

Do you suffer from skin irritation? While it's not unusual for people to get irritated skin, a more intense and recurring condition can be a nuisance. Itchy, irritated skin may appear red, rough, and bumpy. You're likely to scratch the area if it’s left untreated, which can cause thick, raised areas that are prone to infection and wounds.

What Causes Skin Irritation?

Irritated skin can be caused by several common skin conditions, which can affect any area of the body. Some people are predisposed due to certain factors, including:

  • , which can cause a skin reaction or trigger dermatitis
  • Genetic and congenital skin disorders and autoimmune diseases such as eczema or psoriasis. Eczema is characterized by itchy, scaly rashes, while psoriasis usually causes skin discoloration and plaque buildup
  • or thin skin 

Irritated skin may appear on a small area of the body, or it can affect several parts. Common symptoms include , bumps, spots, or blisters, dry, cracked skin, and leathery or scaly patches.

While a flare-up can cause discomfort, you can relieve symptoms and prevent them from happening again. Stick to these rules to soothe your skin.

DO resist the urge to scratch.

Resisting the urge to scratch is easier said than done. But it's crucial to prevent infection or bleeding. Scratching can only aggravate your already irritated skin and leaves it open to dirt and bacteria. Once you have an open wound, healing can take longer, and your skin becomes more vulnerable to .

DO know your triggers and avoid them.

To treat your skin flare-ups, understand that not all triggers are the same for everyone, and there may be a lag between the cause and the symptoms. For skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema, factors like the weather, sweat, certain fabrics such as wool or polyester, or harsh soaps can lead to skin irritation.

Meanwhile, emotional stress can set off hives in others. Practice if this is the case. Employ mind-body and meditation techniques, lifestyle changes, or explore cognitive behavioral therapy. Try to seek professional help in addressing and managing emotional stress if it drives skin flare-ups.

DO stay away from chemical irritants.

can cause external irritation on exposed skin. These may include household products such as hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, body wash, or home cleaners and disinfectants. Other organic items like juices or extracts from fruits, vegetables, and even meat products can act as triggers in some people. Other common irritants include:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Metals such as nickel
  • Certain perfumes and other  
  • Antibacterial ointments like neomycin and bacitracin
  • Formaldehyde in some disinfectants, vaccines, and glues
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine, a thickener in lotions and shampoos
  • Paraphenylenediamine in products such as dyes and temporary tattoos
  • Isothiazolinone, the antibacterial part in baby wipes and other personal products

DON’T use products that can irritate your skin.

Use products that are free of harsh chemicals to cleanse your skin gently and rid it of bacteria that can further cause irritation. Many can be too strong, causing dry, itchy skin. Switch to Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Moisture, which pampers skin with its¼ moisturizing cream. It is a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic bar mild enough for

You can also try Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash, which is formulated with Moisture Renew Blend. It goes deep into the epidermis, working with the skin’s natural processes to help revive moisture.

Soothing irritated skin requires consistency and patience. It won’t happen overnight, but if you treat it gently, avoid scratching, and protect it from harsh elements, the redness and itching should be gone in no time.