3 questions to an expert

For skin irritations, I prescribe creams that contain soothing or healing molecules

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Skin irritations manifest themselves in redness and dryness. They are triggered by certain products that are poorly tolerated by delicate skin such as soaps, shampoos, perfumes that are too concentrated and certain active ingredients. How can they be relieved? Advice from a dermatologist.

What is skin irritation?

Skin irritations are very common and assume a number of forms.

They are sometimes mistaken for an allergic reaction. Irritant dermatitises rarely cause itching, if at all, and normally extend slightly beyond the areas to which the products were applied (with the exception of the eyelids). Irritant products trigger an inflammatory reaction and impair the skin’s barrier. This results in visible irritation of the skin, making it feel tight and prickly sometimes with mild itching.

Where do the reactions occur in your patients?

I most often see them on the face, on the eyelids and around the eye.

On the back of the hands and fingers, the irritation can be acute and red with swelling, or chronic, dry and cracked. On the palm of the hands and fingers, the epidermis is thin, dry and cracked. On the body, the skin is dry, sometimes cracked and flaky.

What do you recommend?

First of all, I ask them to stop applying suspect products.

If the irritation occurs on the eyelids, I advise them to avoid using all cosmetic products. For the face, I recommend cleansing the skin with a neutral lotion or thermal spring water. For the body, I suggest using soap-free cleansing bars or surfactant-free soaps. I also prescribe creams containing soothing, softening or healing molecules and sunscreens to protect against sun exposure. I avoid cortisone-based creams.

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