Cleansing Problem Skin

Cleansing Inflamed Skin

Since problem skin is often more easily irritated than normal skin, it can be related to more severe skin conditions. Red, itchy, inflamed skin is known as dermatitis. There are many different types of dermatitis, and each has different causes and symptoms, although these usually include some combination of redness, itchiness and swelling. If you have any of these symptoms, you may want to consult a doctor to determine the cause.

Whatever the cause, inflamed skin requires great care when it comes to cleansing. You don't want to make the inflammation any worse, and because any chemical is a potential irritant, you need to choose your cleanser wisely.

As is the case with any problem skin, gentle cleansing is the key. That's right -- that means no soap of any kind. It means choosing a cleanser that's mild and hypoallergenic. Try to find one without fragrance or dye, since even these chemicals could increase your skin's inflammation. Cleanse your skin once a day and lather the cleanser with your fingertips rather than a washcloth or bath sponge. Use lukewarm water to rinse thoroughly and pat your face with a clean towel. In fact, you may want to simply blot your face once with a towel and let it air-dry. Apply a moisturizer that is similarly mild, hypoallergenic and free of fragrance and dye.

For more information on keeping your skin irritation-free and balanced between dry and oily, follow the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Bathing and Moisturizing Guidelines." EczemaNet. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Daily Skin Care Essential to Control Atopic Dermatitis." EczemaNet. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Facts about Sunscreens." (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • Bouchez, Colette. "Oily Skin: Solutions That Work -- No Matter What Your Age." WebMD. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • Kunin, Audrey. "Oily Skin" DermaDoctor. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • LiveStrong. "Facial Skin Care." (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Acne." April 30, 2008. (Acced 8/31/2009).
  • Mayo Clinic. "Dermatitis." December 7, 2007. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Dry Skin." November 26, 2008. (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • P & G Beauty & Grooming. "Skin Cleansing." (Accessed 8/26/2009)
  • P & G Beauty & Grooming. "Moisturizers." (Accessed 8/31/2009)
  • Skin Care Guide. "The Right Way to Clean Your Skin -- Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin." Mild Cleanser. (Accessed 8/26/2009)