Skin Inflammation

Cross section of skin with redness on skin surface showing inflammation of skin

Inflammation of the skin is called many names such as sensitive skin, rashes, inflamed skin and skin allergy.  All of these have one main thing in common: red skin.

Inflammation is the cause of red skin, but what is inflammation?

Medical terms for skin inflammation on the face depend upon the cause and include rosacea, dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and melasma. Inflammation should be treated as soon as possible with skin care products containing soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients like Argan Oil because inflammation has a domino effect causing more inflammation, leading to damage to skin cells and  skin pigmentation and skin agingInflammation is such an important cause of skin aging that the term "inflammaging" is often used to describe the process and anti-inflammatory ingredients are also considered antiaging ingredients.

inflammation definition

What Causes Skin Inflammation?

Inflammation is a vascular and cellular reflexive response of the living tissue to injury.  The inflammation response is a series of cascades turned on by of infection, chemical damage (e.g., toxins, irritants), physical damage (e.g., heat, cold, radiation, mechanical trauma), or activation of the immune system (such as antibody recognition of antigens). 

 Inflammation is a protective mechanism intended to remove injurious stimuli as well as to initiate the healing process of the damaged tissue. However, once inflammation gets turned on- it causes a domino effect that can be hard to stop.  This is why once you can an inflammatory reaction, such as a rash, all of the sudden you start having allergies, itching and problem sin other unrelated areas of the body.

How To Cure Skin Inflammation

Many different pathways are involved in cell inflammation. The only way to calm skin and reduce inflammation is to:

  1. Remove the cause of inflammation
  2. Turn off the pathways in the body that are making the skin inflamed

 Anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients target get inflammation.

You can learn more of the in-depth science of skin inflammation and which pathways need to be turned off here. For the best in-depth scientific descriptions of skin inflammation see Ch. 38 in Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill 2022).

Skin Inflammation Symptoms

signs of skin inflammation


The 4 signs of skin inflammation are: calor (heat), dolor (pain), rubor (redness), and tumor (swelling).

 These signs of skin inflammation are caused by:

  • dilation of blood vessels that leads to warmth and redness
  • increased permeability of blood vessels that leads to swelling and hives
  • extravasation of plasma proteins causes an exudate that increases inflammation
  • migration of immune cells into the affected tissue

How to Reduce Skin Inflammation and Redness?

As a dermatologist, every day I prescribe skin inflammation medicine. Topical corticosteroids are the most commonly used prescription medications to treat inflamed skin.  However, with long term use these steroids can thin the skin and cause immunosuppression.  For this reason, dermatologists often use anti-inflammatory creams for skin with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Here are some of the best skincare products to treat facial redness:

How to calm inflamed skin without a prescription cream?

Luckily there are many soothing and calming skincare ingredients out there for the face and body to treat inflamed skin. You can find a list of anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients to look for on product labels here.

Soothing and Calming Moisturizer for Inflamed Skin

Which moisturizer to use to soothe skin inflammation depends upon the underlying cause of the inflammation. It is always best to take the skin type quiz to identify any skin conditions contributing to your irritated skin. If you have dry skin, sensitive skin, we will most likely recommend a barrier repair moisturizer with soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients.  Here are some of our favorites:

Natural anti-inflammatory for skin

Foods such as salmon and flax seed oil have soothing properties.  Limiting sugar in your diet is also a good idea.

Oils are a good natural anti-inflammatory for the skin.  Look for oils with fatty acids like  linoleic acid which specifically target the pathways that cause inflammation.  Argan Oil is one of our favorite soothing oils to treat inflamed skin. It has linoleic acid and other soothing and antioxidant components and is noncomedogenic.

Here are some of the best Soothing Oils to calm skin inflammation:

If you have inflamed skin, make sure your skin care regimen is right for your Baumann Skin Type and use it consistently as directed for the best results.  Using the best skin care products for YOUR skin type is the only way to cure skin inflammation.

sensitive Baumann skin types



  1. Baumann L. in Ch 38 Ant-iinflammatory Ingredients in Baumann L. et al. Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Kimball ES: Cytokines and inflammation. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1991.
  3. Needleman P, Turk J, Jakschik BA et al: Arachidonic acid metabolism. Annu Rev Biochem. 55:69, 1986.
  4. Smith WL: Prostanoid biosynthesis and mechanisms of action. Am J Physiol. 263:F181, 1992.
  5. Gabay C, Kushner I: Acute-phase proteins and other systemic responses to inflammation. New Engl J Med. 340:448, 1999.
  6. Cavaillon JM: Contribution of cytokines to inflammatory mechanisms. Pathol Biol (Paris). 41:799, 1993.

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