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What causes Skin Irritation?

Skin irritation

5 Causes of Skin Irritation & Inflammation

Inflammation and irritation are really bad for your skin and overall health. Inflammation is toxic to your skin because it causes the destruction of collagen and elastin which prevents your skin from healing, and also thins the layers of your skin. Furthermore, inflammation and irritation lead to premature and accelerated ageing, disease, uneven skin tone, excess oil production and breakouts.

What causes skin inflammation and irritation?

1. Irritating Ingredients in Skincare Products

Some ingredients in skincare products can cause skin irritation and inflammation. The very skincare products you're using may be the source of your skin problems and exacerbate the problems you're trying to fix.

It helps to be aware of the specific ingredients that are good for your skin type rather than be guided purely by marketing information.

It is ironic when a skincare product claims to

Below is a list of irritating ingredients that you need to be mindful of:

2. Synthetic Fragrances

The aroma of a skincare product is part of the appeal. But if the aroma is from a synthetic fragrance, it is bad for your skin. Synthetic fragrance is produced by a chemicals cocktail to make it smell pleasant. The chemicals can be volatile and cause skin irritation and inflammation. Synthetic fragrances in skincare are the most common cause of sensitivities and allergies reactions. When applied daily it can cause chronic irritation, damage healthy collagen production and make it difficult for skin to repair itself.

Instead use plant based essences, such as quality essential oils.

3. Unhealthy Diet

A diet filled with sugar, processed food, saturated animal fats and alcohol (and smoking) can cause skin to age quickly. A poor or unhealthy diet can lead to inflammation and worsen acne. The food below causes inflammation and it's best to reduce them if you would like to have healthier skin. (The list is taken from The Clear Skin Prescription by Dr Nicholas Perricone who is a renowned dermatologist, researcher and scientist.)

  • Bagels
  • Bananas
  • Bread, rolls
  • Cake
  • Cereals (except oat but not instant)
  • Cookies
  • Corn
  • Corn bread, corn muffins
  • Cornstarch, corn syrup
  • Crackers
  • Cream cheese
  • Croissants
  • Doughnuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Egg rolls
  • Flour
  • Hot chips
  • Fried food
  • Fruit juices
  • Hard cheese except Parmesan
  • Honey
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet
  • Jam, jelly, preserves
  • Margarine
  • Molasses
  • Muffins
  • Noodles
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Pastry
  • Peas
  • Pie
  • Pita bread
  • Pizza
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes
  • Pudding
  • Relish
  • Rice
  • Snack foods (potatoes chips, pretzels, corn chips, rice and corn crackers, etc)
  • Soft drinks
  • Sugar (white and brown)
  • Tacos
  • Tortillas
  • Waffles

4. Long Period of Sun Exposure without Protection

Daily sun exposure without protection is a silent killer of your skin. It takes years for the sun damage to appear on the surface of your skin. The sun is a major trigger of free-radicals and inflammation. It leads to skin cancer, produces brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles. You many not feel the damage immediately but it will show up later in life. The damaging rays of the sun can penetrate through windows so staying behind windows with strong sunlight shining through is still harmful to your skin.

5. Stress

Prolonged exposure to psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol hormones, creating inflammation that damages your health and skin.

Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It also worsens skin conditions like acne, eczema, hives, rosacea and psoriasis and makes them harder to heal. And if that affects your confidence it adds more stress.

Have you ever noticed that you break out more when you're stressed? This is because stress causes your body to make the cortisol hormones, which tells glands in your skin to make more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin challenges.

Stress destroys the beneficial bacteria in your gut that helps to fight disease and illness. When your body and gut are compromised it increases the likelihood of skin challenges and makes you prone to illness and diseases.

Downtime and helping others can minimise stress and bring you joy.


I hope you feel a little better informed on how to avoid those things that cause irritation and inflammation. Put quality ingredients on your skin, use essential oils for aroma, eat well, minimise sun exposure, and do something that brings you joy!

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