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Is Inflammation Making Your Skin More Sensitive?

Inflammation can cause acne, redness, rosacea, eczema, and more.


Skin inflammation is a buzzy topic for good reason: Understanding the triggers and treatments for everyday inflammation is one of the fastest paths to healthier skin. Symptoms of inflammation can range from redness and rashes to pimples and dry patches, and it’s not just a face thing — it can occur all over the body. Although skin inflammation affects many people, it’s a topic that’s not widely understood. The reason? Skin inflammation can manifest in many different ways and is caused by different triggers, which can make combating it a bit trickier.

To help, we chatted with two top experts. Ahead, learn what skin inflammation is, the different ways it can manifest on the skin, and tips for combating it.


Marino says skin inflammation can manifest in many different ways ranging from acute inflammation such as redness to chronic inflammatory conditions. Here are some of the most common forms of skin inflammation and their causes.

Acne: Acne is a form of skin inflammation that manifests as red bumps, pus pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. “It starts when dead cell debris and oil get trapped in a pore and form a plug, blocking the opening of the pore,” Marino says. “Oil production continues, causing the area to become inflamed and attracts bacteria.”

Eczema: With eczema, Dr. Zeichner says the skin barrier isn’t working as well as it should be, which leads to microscopic cracks in the skin and loss of hydration. This results in dry, itchy, flaky patches of skin.

Melasma: This type of skin inflammation is caused by “an overproduction of melanin triggered by inflammatory triggers from heat, hormones or sun,” Marino says. “It appears as large, brown, discolored patches on the skin, typically on the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip.” Psoriasis: Psoriasis can show up as red, thick patches with white scales, Dr. Zeichner says. He explains that with this condition, the skin is inflamed because the immune system gets angry at the skin itself leading to a buildup of dead cells on the skin’s surface. Rosacea: Dr. Zeichner says people with this inflammatory condition will typically have redness, burning, and stinging in the middle third of the face. “It is caused by overactivity of the immune system in your skin, causing the skin to overreact to environmental triggers like spicy foods, hot beverages, or even alcohol,” he says.


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