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What Causes Irritated Skin?

Irritated skin is caused by the immune system responding to a specific stimulus.

Skin is the largest organ in the body, measuring 2m2. It is the only body organ that is constantly exposed to potential irritation and, with so many irritants your skin is encountering every day, you’re bound to get an itch or two.

The medical term for itching is pruritis. This is usually triggered by some external stimuli such as insects, dust, clothing fibres and hair. Pruritis is your body’s built-in defence mechanism that alerts you to the potential of being harmed.
What Causes Irritated Skin?
For example, a trigger could be an insect landing on your arm and the potential of being harmed is that you might get bitten by the insect.  At first you might not even notice the insect, but soon it will begin to rub back and forth across your skin, irritating nerve receptors just under the skin. In a split second, these receptors send a signal through the nerve fibres up to the brain.

As soon as we feel an itch, our first natural response is to scratch. The reason for this response is simple - we want to remove the irritant as soon as possible. Once you've scratched the area of irritation, you are likely to feel some relief. When your brain realizes that you've scratched away the irritant, the signal being sent to your brain that you have an itch is interrupted and no longer recognized by the brain. However, when you use your fingernail to scratch the spot where the irritant is, you not only remove the irritant but you irritate a lot more nerve endings than the irritant itself. So, scratching is not the answer.

Sensitive Skin Syndrome (SSS)

Sensitive Skin Syndrome (SSS) is a state of hyper-reactivity to environmental stimuli. It mainly affects women, but a UK study of 2316 people showed a staggering 38% of men also suffered from sensitive skin.

It has been suggested that SSS is not caused by an immune or allergic response but may be due to a change in the skin cells on the surface of the skin (stratum corneum). Current thinking is that these outer skin cells become weakened for some reason and are not able to provide a strong enough barrier to irritating ingredients in products. Sensitive skin syndrome often presents with irritated, sore, reddened and itchy skin.

Authentic Advice from a Registered Nurse

Those of us with sensitive skin often get desperate to find the right product to calm our skin and tend to buy anything (and everything) that promises relief. What we often end up with is a bathroom cupboard full of bottles and still no relief.

Here's 3 tips to soothe irritated, sensitive skin:
  1. Always follow the LESS IS BEST rule. Avoid ‘panic buying’. Choose one great cleanser, one great moisturiser and one great sunscreen.
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t over-complicate your skin care regime.
  3. Read the ingredient list. Oasis Beauty can help you demystify ingredient lists with our regular articles about reading labels.

Oasis Beauty specialises in sun care and skin repair for sensitive skin. Oasis Sun Organic Aloe Vera and Cucumber Gel provides instant soothing and calming for irritated, red, itchy and ultra-sensitive skin. Never sticky, highly absorbable and alcohol free, this gentle organic gel is packed with antioxidants to aid skin recovery.

Here's a cool idea: Squeeze some Oasis Sun Organic Aloe Vera & Cucumber Gel into an ice-cube tray, pop into the freezer and pop them out when needed for instant after sun relief, chafing, grazes or minor burns.

For further guidance or advice about your eczema, dermatitis or any other adverse skin condition you are experiencing, feel free to leave a comment below or Book a Free Consultation with our registered dermatological nurse, Susan Beach.


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