Skin Inflammation, Causes, and Treatment

What is skin inflammation?

Skin inflammation is an immune response mediated by the body upon exposure to heat, allergens, or stress. It may appear as redness, itching, sensitivity, or swelling on the skin.

The skin is a barrier against harmful organisms and the environment. It protects itself from the invasion of external pathogens that can harm the human body. Furthermore, skin converts free radicals to unharmful substances in the skin. All these functions of the skin altogether help fight off skin inflammation.  

Some known causative agents of skin inflammation include:

1. Heat

2. Autoimmune disorders

3. Infections

4. Sun

5. Allergic reaction

6. Photosensitivity

Mechanism of skin inflammation:

The skin triggers the immune system upon exposure to any aforementioned causative agents. Consequently, the T-lymphocytes and cytokines are immediately activated. They recognize the inflammatory particles and use multiple methods based on the nature of the particle to kill them and later remove them from the body.

Diagnosing inflamed skin:

To make an accurate diagnosis about the cause of the inflammation, a physician needs to perform a careful physical assessment and go over the patient's medical history. The nature of the rash also serves the purpose of skin inflammation.

Other than that, blood tests such as Complete Blood Cells and allergy markers such as IgE and histamine can also indicate inflammation. Moreover, the physician may also perform a skin test by introducing a small drop of the allergen using a needle into the skin. The area is marked and observed for any signs of inflammation, such as redness or swelling. The inflammatory response usually builds up gradually and may take up to forty-eight hours to fully appear.

How to calm inflamed skin?

There are several lines of action to deal with inflamed skin. The mode of action depends entirely on the individual condition and the extent of their allergic response.


Depending on the nature of the allergy, several cases may require an extensive round of antibiotics taken orally or intravenously. These may be advised by carefully assessing the nature and extent of the inflammation.


Often, inflammation of the skin may be a result of fungal infections. Therefore, the doctor may prescribe anti-fungal drugs. Fungal infections may also heal by topical application of anti-fungal ointments.


Corticosteroids in the topical form are a significant gamechanger for skin diseases, including skin inflammation. They tend to bring a quicker soothing effect and heal irritated skin.

Anti-itch cream:

Itching is a characteristic of inflamed skin. Therefore, for soothing it down, an over-the-counter anti-itching lotion or cream such as calamine can do the job right.


Antihistamines are used widely for treating allergic reactions. Thus, they are essential in bringing the allergic response to a halt as histamines are usually the first to spike up in an allergic response.

Cool Wraps:

Often, irritated skin calms by applying cool compresses or an ice bath. However, they relieve the symptoms temporarily.

Use of supplements:

The use of Vitamin D supplements orally can help improve skin health and hence reduce skin inflammation as well. Simultaneously, retinol (the active form of vitamin A) tends to calm down irritated skin as well. However, the use of retinol needs to be carefully monitored and discontinued if the irritation aggravates.

Inflammatory Skin Conditions

Skin inflammatory conditions also cause uneasiness and frustration among the sufferers beyond giving itchy skin. This includes eczema and psoriasis, which leads to redness, patchy and flaky skin, itchiness, and pain.

Urticaria, or hives, is another frequent skin ailment. The occurrence of hives might be episodic or long-term.


Hives constitute a skin condition that occurs with the sudden outbreak of raised, red, and itchy areas on the skin. Due to these rashes, large patches, rings, or small bumps may form on the skin's surface. Transient hives are a distinctive hallmark of atopic dermatitis; they appear unexpectedly, change in size and location, and then disappear just as quickly again. When the rash first appears, the eyes and mouth may become swollen. There are no lasting scars or marks left on the skin by rashes, although they might last from a few minutes to several hours. Hives might be worrying, but they are considered harmless in most cases.

Hives are usually triggered in the body due to an antibody called histamine, which is released due to some allergic reaction caused by food, any substance, or any insect bite. Subsequently, the blood vessels become leaky and wider, leading to fluid accumulation in the tissues and skin swelling. Hives can be controlled with antihistamines and some oral steroids.


Psoriasis also causes the skin's redness and itchiness. It is a chronic condition that is immunity-related and commonly starts in adulthood but may trigger and affect any age group.

Psoriasis is characterized by scale-like lesions that are elevated and covered in silvery skin. The regular development cycle of the skin is accelerated, which causes this phenomenon. As your skin flakes off every four weeks, it reveals new skin cells growing beneath the surface. These infected cells grow on the skin's surface and form thick, painful plaques that last for weeks or months. The condition can be avoided by regularly moisturizing skin and avoiding skin injuries.


This type of skin inflammation is common in people with a specific work routine that involves frequent washing of hands or exposure to certain chemicals. Those with dry skin or leg vein problems are more likely to develop eczema than children.

Eczema can be caused by a variety of reasons, including hereditary predisposition. Skin barrier function is critical to keeping allergens out of the body and retaining moisture in the skin. Dry skin can be passed down from generation to generation due to a defective skin barrier.

Following are the subtypes of eczema:

Atopic Eczema:

Atopic eczema is the most prevalent kind present in the United States and is more likely to affect patients with seasonal allergies or asthma. Itchy, red, dry, and scaly rashes are some symptoms. In addition, their actions may cause the skin to become wet, puffy, or irritated.

Asteatotic Eczema:

It mainly occurs in older people and causes cracking of the skin.

Discoid Eczema:

Another eczema manifestation is the appearance of circular scaly patches. Exposure to irritants or allergens may result in the development of environmental eczema.

Treatment of Eczema

Dry and flakey skin is the biggest reason for eczema. Using steroid creams can help in fighting redness and itchiness. Make sure to use warm water while bathing and avoid hot showers. Maintain a good and healthy lifestyle by regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy diet.

Bottom line

Skin inflammation is a natural defense mechanism responding to the entry of pathogens into the skin. There are several manifestations of the response brought about by the T-lymphocytes of the body. Moreover, there are several ways to calm down the inflamed skin. While many cases can be successfully treated at home, others require a diagnosis from a healthcare provider. Inflammation that is very itchy or painful should be seen by a healthcare provider as soon as possible.