There are a bunch of reasons you might find yourself waking up with skin that’s red, raw, itchy, or covered in rashes. Apart from conditions like rosacea, most skin irritation stems from the environment or using the wrong products. “Many people think they have sensitive skin because they get irritated by harsh products,” says Dallas-, NYC- and L.A.-based esthetician Renee Rouleau. “But it’s the harsh products that are the problem, not your skin. Inflamed skin is due to a weakened or damaged protective barrier.”
It’s best to consult a professional to find the cause of your inflammation, but here are some quick fixes you can use to soothe the problem:
Keep Up Your Moisturization
Dry skin causes tiny, superficial cracks in your skin, says Rouleau. “These invisible cracks are referred to as a damaged protective barrier. This is when your skin shows redness, feels tight and dry, and becomes easily irritated.” She recommends using a barrier-repairing product containing lipid-rich oils to reduce sensitivity and dryness. “Once the barrier is repaired, your skin should be far less dry, red and irritated.”
Look For Ceramides
NYC dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor also points to ceramides found in moisturizer formulations being beneficial in restoring your skin’s barrier. “Daily use helps to prevent dry skin and itchy rashes in those prone to eczema or xerotic dermatitis (dry, red, itchy skin),” she says.
Quit Your Hardcore Exfoliation
Like microdermabrasion, says Rouleau. “This popular treatment is beneficial for exfoliation but can aggravate sensitive skin.” Instead, she advises opting for mild chemical peels, ultrasonic exfoliation, or a mild facial.
Go Ultra Gentle With Your Cleanser
Dr. MacGregor says that if you are unsure why your skin is irritated, you need to seek advice to direct the appropriate skin regimen. In the meantime, however, "Use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar.” She also stresses that an individualized skin care routine is essential, and using the wrong regimen for your skin type can worsen the problem.
Keep Your Skincare in the fridge
“Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing with cool temperature products will constrict the capillaries to ease redness and irritation,” says Rouleau.
Avoid Harsh Ingredients
Get knowledgeable about what ingredients are causing your irritation. You’re looking for: “SD Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, synthetic fragrance, dyes or apricot kernels,” says Rouleau. Instead, she says to load up on “products with anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients such as chamomile, sea whip, azulene, and white tea to infuse a natural and comforting treatment into your skin.”