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There are as many types of skin inflammation as there are types of skin. And because the causes of skin irritation range from the predictable to the utterly mysterious and are likely to change throughout our lives, those of us with irritable skin are fated to a rigorous regimen of good, old-fashioned trial and error.
That said, there are some things to understand about skin irritation that will make this process more productive and less, shall we say, irritating. The first is that genetics can play a large role in determining what bothers our skin, especially in the case of eczema (or atopic dermatitis) and seborrheic dermatitis. While dermatitis is the umbrella term for a whole host of skin inflammations, atopic dermatitis refers specifically to conditions passed down from parents to children, while seborrheic dermatitis is a specific hereditary skin condition related to a malfunctioning of the skin's sebum-producing sebaceous glands. But even in cases of genetically inherited dermatitis, most actual causes for the irritation remain mysterious. Stress, environmental allergens, diet, sleep . . . the possible causes are everywhere. It is finally up to each of us to learn to find and manage them.
While atopic and seborrheic dermatitis are clearly genetic in nature, contact dermatitis refers specifically to skin irritation caused by substances that the skin encounters in the world (note that this sensitivity often also has a genetic component). One would imagine that it would be easy to find the causes of contact dermatitis, but allergic responses to substances can sometimes take hours or even days to manifest in the form of a rash, blister, itching, or other symptom of irritation. And again, while there are many predictable skin irritants such poison ivy, there are many more that will make one person break out while leaving another wholly unaffected .
While the task of finding a non-irritating moisturizer can be a bit of a chore for people with very sensitive skin, it is certainly worth the trouble as adding moisture to burning, chaffed and itching skin has a calming, restorative effect. Even rashes that are not directly caused by dry skin often create it, as irritated surface skin can inhibit the dispersion of your skin's natural moisturizing sebum.
There's no doubt that the frustration of skin irritation and its often baffling causes can sometimes bring us to our knees. But by working to unmask the things that each of us would do well to avoid, and by finding a skin-care regimen to help us counter and even reverse these annoying effects, we can all find effective ways to live with our skins' little eccentricities.
When looking for skin care products that won't trouble and irritate your skin, it is important to avoid harsh preservatives and other chemical additives (such as ) that can dry and vex your skin. Additionally, seeking out natural, botanical-based products that use calming, soothing herbs can be another good place to start. For particularly sensitive skin, check out Avalon Organics Lavender Renewal & Vitality Advanced Care for Sensitive Skin. Lavender is renowned for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.
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