Chronic?! Is it serious? You would think, huh. It’s frustrating to deal with red, flaky skin that is painful to live in. Chronic inflammations are as it sounds, a pain in the behind if ya know what I mean. In this post, you will find how to treat chronic inflammation.
Whether you are living with or without inflamed skin, you are probably aware of the symptoms. What you didn’t know was how it started, what it does to your skin, and how to treat it. (Can we treat it?) This blog is tearing away the covers of chronic inflammation to examine how it impacts our overall health and what we can do about it and how can we treat chronic inflammation.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
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Similar to many other skin conditions, chronic inflammation is triggered by other health factors including:
- Immune system dysfunction
- Allergic reactions
- Infection from bacteria, fungi, or virus
- Sensitivity to heat or photosensitivity
- Existing conditions, like eczema, or bacteria penetrating your skin barrier
Inflammation is your body’s natural process of fighting against harmful things like infections, injuries, and toxins to heal itself. When your body experiences a threat or damage to its cells, it releases chemicals that trigger an immune system response.
Acute inflammation causes noticeable symptoms including pain, redness and swelling. Chronic inflammation has more subtle symptoms. Chronic inflammation occurs when this response lingers, leaving the body in a constant state of stress to be on alert. Over time, this response has a negative impact on your bodily health.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation can be mild to severe and last for months or longer. They include:
- mouth sores
- abdominal pain
- chest pain
What causes chronic inflammation?
If you live with immune system dysfunction, your body is attacking itself in a normal, healthy state which can be a trigger of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis. If you have an autoimmune disease known as celiac where you are gluten-intolerant, you may also experience inflammation, burning, blistering, or an itching rash. (sad face) Honey, if this is you, we feel for you!
For allergic reactions, they occur when you eat triggering foods or ingredients (for instance, in medicine) that cause inflammation. This inflammatory response is often painful and causes immense discomfort. Allergic reactions can also result from contact dermatitis, when your skin comes into contact with allergens such as perfumes or ingredients in cosmetics. However, there are allergy tests you can take through your doctor to identify allergies you may have and avoid potential triggers.
Infections from bacteria, virus, or fungi are easier to identify than some other causes. These tend to have a distinguishable look and infections can be contracted through contact with other people or even animals (such as ringworm). Retracing your steps of who or what you have been in contact with in the past 5-7 days can help identify the cause of the inflammation.
Photosensitivity is a rarer form of skin inflammation that is triggered by sunlight. It is similar to heat sensitivity which is when sweat is trapped in your pores. Both cause redness and intense rashes (like a sunburn).
Finally, if you have existing chronic skin conditions like eczema, you have a deficient skin barrier that is causing your skin to break out. Rashes in this case look red, itchy, and inflamed across the skin. Unfortunately, this could be the result of genetics and needs careful monitoring. It can also be in combination with immune system dysfunction or penetrating bacteria that contribute to this type of reaction.
Treat Chronic Inflammation
Skinflammation, our new word for this undesirable “skin inflammation” we’re experiencing. It’s frankly an irritation in all senses of the word. When you identify the root cause of your chronic inflammation, you can begin to explore a few different treatment options that suit your lifestyle.
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing an unbearably painful condition, covering much of your body or clearly infected, consult your healthcare professional immediately to treat chronic inflammation!
Now, we can begin.
The most easily accessible treatment option is a topical cream such as a ceramide or antifungal. Topical ointments are designed to penetrate the skin barrier to fight off the inflammatory response and rebuild your damaged skin. They provide much needed relief from the irritation if used properly. However, topical creams are not permanent fixes to the problem at hand. They require constant application to completely fight the problem, and stopping usage could take you right back to where you started. Consult your doctor to see if a prescription treatment is necessary for your case.
Doctors can also prescribe an oral medication to tackle chronic inflammation from the inside. These include an antihistamine to combat allergic reactions or an antibiotic to treat infections. Oral solutions often provide quicker, longer lasting relief. However, they can also have unwanted side effects such as upset stomach, fatigue, etc. Keep an eye on any new symptoms and adjust your treatment with your health professional.
If you’re looking for a cheaper, more natural approach, there are a number of at-home remedies you can try. Fair warning, these are pretty hit or miss if you’re opting for a DIY solution. One common treatment uses tea tree oil, applying a small amount to a sample area first to monitor your skin’s reaction. Then, once determined safe, apply to the affected area. Remember with essential oils, a little bit goes a long way.
Stress can be a major factor contributing to inflammation and lack of relief from treatments. You may need to consider lifestyle changes as the source of your problems. Stress can cause hives, rashes, and other chronic conditions if not managed properly. Don’t fall victim to this madness!
For temporary relief while you explore the different treatment approaches, try a cold compress and wearing soft, loose clothing to minimize ongoing irritation. If you use cosmetics, avoid any endocrine disrupting chemicals that can further inflame the skin.
And, please, please, please consult a doctor. If there is a larger, underlying problem, we want to catch it as early as possible. Your health and safety is the number one priority. Inflammation can be the warning sign your body is trying to signal of some bigger conditions. Listen to your body. Rest when needed and do your best to have a self-care routine.