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What Causes Skin Inflammation?

Skin Inflammation

Although inflammation may bring about many unwanted side effects, it is actually an essential process that occurs in your body. When your body recognizes a foreign intruder – like infectious microorganisms or cancer cells – your immune system sends a response to drive out the dangerous agents and begin the healing process. This is similar to how your body sends out a response to promote healing when you have a wound or an area of damaged tissue. This immune system response is known formally as inflammation, and your body would not be able to heal itself without it.

In the same way, your skin can also produce an inflammatory response. Skin inflammation usually presents as a rash that may be raised, red, or warm. Some inflammatory rashes cause blisters or pimples, and some may burn, sting, or itch.  Skin inflammation can be caused by a variety of conditions and infections. Keep reading to learn more about several conventional causes of skin inflammation.

Acute Vs. Chronic Inflammation

Acute inflammation develops rapidly in response to a trigger, such as an allergen, the sun, or an infection. This type of inflammation is short-term and typically resolves within a few weeks if the cause of inflammation is treated. Acute inflammation doesn’t typically cause permanent tissue damage.

Chronic inflammation is long-lasting inflammation that develops when the immune system releases sustained responses within the body. Over time, it can lead to chronic disease and tissue damage. And because the inflammatory process is occurring within the body, symptoms aren’t always visible. Common chronic skin conditions are psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.

Six Conditions That Can Cause Skin Inflammation

The list below is not all-inclusive but does provide information about the most common causes of skin inflammation.

  • Infection. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections can call cause skin inflammation. Common bacterial skin infections include cellulitis and staph infections, common viral infections include warts and herpes simplex, and common fungal infections include ringworm and athlete’s foot. Additionally, seborrheic dermatitis – a chronic skin condition that causes red, scaly skin patches and dandruff – is thought to be caused by yeast that resides in the oil on your skin.
  • Immune system dysfunction. Dysfunction within the immune system can cause immune cells to mistakenly attack your body’s own healthy cells, as is the case with psoriasis. If you have psoriasis, an overreactive immune response speeds up the skin cell production process and causes red, patchy skin lesions to develop on your body.
  • Allergic reaction. An allergic reaction occurs if your immune system overreacts when it senses a foreign substance and sends cells to attack the invader. Foods, medications, and pollen can all trigger allergic reactions and cause skin redness, hives, and inflammation. Contact dermatitis causes irritation and rashes when your skin encounters poison ivy, poison oak, perfumes, skin care products, or strong chemicals.
  • Gut condition. Today, researchers are studying the gut-skin balance. Increasingly, gut conditions and an imbalanced gut microbiome are linked to skin inflammation and chronic inflammatory skin conditions. Read more here.
  • Photosensitivity. Photosensitivity is an extreme sensitivity to sunlight that can trigger an immune system response. A photosensitive reaction can be induced by spending time in the sun while taking certain medications, including some antibiotics and diuretics. Photosensitive skin becomes red, inflamed, and burned after only minimal UV radiation exposure.
  • Injury or wound. Cuts, scrapes, burns, and surgical wounds causes redness, swelling, and warmth at the site of the injury. The immune system sends an inflammatory response to help heal damaged tissue.

Therapeutic Outlook

Depending on what kind of skin inflammation you may have, there are many things that can help with the management of symptoms. The best way to determine a course of treatment is by visiting your dermatologist. From there, you will receive a comprehensive skin exam and your doctor may order additional testing to establish what is causing your skin inflammation. Treatments for skin inflammation include the use of both topical ointments and creams, as well as oral medications. A home remedy plan may also be established, which could include taking supplements, warm oatmeal baths, and applying a cool compress to the affected area(s).

If you find yourself struggling with any type of skin inflammation, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with you dermatologist.

Visit Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers for Treatment

The board-certified dermatologists at Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers are experts in the field of hair, nails, and skin. If you suffer from skin inflammation, our medical professionals can make an accurate diagnosis of your condition and get you started on a treatment plan that meets your individual needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at the clinic nearest you. For more information about services that Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers provides, or to make an appointment for a skin exam, visit or contact us at (855) FLD-SKIN.

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