What Causes Skin Inflammation?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 04 March 2018
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Skin inflammation, also known as eczema or dermatitis, is a medical condition in which the skin becomes red and irritated. In some cases, the skin may become itchy, begin to blister, or crusty patches may develop. Common causes of skin inflammation may include allergic reactions, skin sensitivities, or heredity factors. Circulatory problems or a lowered immune system may also lead to skin inflammation in some cases.

Atopic dermatitis is the name given to one of the most common sources of skin inflammation. This condition occurs when the skin comes into contact with irritating substances such as chemicals found in soaps, detergents, and cleaning solutions. Food allergies may also be responsible for this type of skin disorder. Those with atopic dermatitis often have other conditions, such as hay fever or asthma. While not always the case, atopic dermatitis may sometimes run in families.

Dyshidrotic dermatitis causes skin inflammation on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. Deep blisters that may itch or burn are common among those with this condition. The exact cause is unknown, but there may be a genetic factor involved. Dyshidrotic dermatitis outbreaks are worse when the patient is exposed to water, so medicated hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may help to prevent some outbreaks.


Stasis dermatitis often causes skin inflammation on the lower legs due to poor circulation. This condition is seen most often among the elderly population, and swelling of the lower legs is often present due to poor circulation. Other symptoms may include oozing sores or skin discoloration.

Allergic contact dermatitis leads to skin inflammation due the body's immune response when coming into contact with an allergen or irritant. Nickel allergies or poison ivy are among the potential causes of this condition. Avoiding products and substances that are known to cause allergic reactions can often prevent these types of outbreaks.

Stress, especially extreme or long-term exposure to stressful situations, may lead to inflammation of the skin in some people. Insect bites or sunburn may also lead to various forms of skin irritation. Dry skin by itself does not generally cause inflammation, but if the patient does a lot of scratching, skin irritation, or even an infection, may occur, leading to inflammation. Regardless of the reason for the skin inflammation, a doctor should be consulted so that an individualized treatment plan can begin and any necessary medications can be prescribed.



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