Skin Irritation Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Basic or simple Irritation
It is probable that everyone has either seen or experienced some form of skin irritation. In Caucasian, European, and Hispanic skin (light to medium pigmentation), irritation can range from a simple, small, pale-red patch of skin to a large area that is intense crimson red in color. Asian skin can react more intensely to irritation, demonstrating deeper red colorations. In contrast, women of color (medium to dark pigmentation) may not exhibit redness at all. Instead they will often demonstrate a decrease in color at the site of irritation, causing an imbalance in overall skin coloration.
Skin irritation only appears in the area where a product has been applied and usually develops within 6 to 24 hours after product use. In the event a person develops this type of reaction they should (i) wash the product off the skin as soon as possible and (ii) discontinue product use until the reaction completely disappears, usually within 72 to 96 hours. It is recommended that those who are very upset about the reaction, contact their doctor or dermatologist. Usually this type of reaction can be suppressed with a topical anti-itch and/or anti-inflammatory cream. This said, it is important that skin care professionals not give medical advice, including counseling on how to treat an adverse skin reaction, and that they refer clients to a physician.
Cumulative Irritation
Cumulative irritation is something that occurs after continued product use. There will be no signs of irritation for three or more days and suddenly a reaction will occur. The skin will react in the same manner as basic or simple irritation described earlier and the product should be washed off and discontinued until the reaction has subsided. These types of reactions are more common when one or more products are being used at the same time, for example in regime skin care. Often the skin can tolerate one or more products for a few days, but over time it becomes less tolerant and an irritation reaction occurs. For this reason, skin care professionals should consider contacting a client three to seven days after beginning a new skin care regime to ensure that the products are being tolerated and used correctly.