Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 1, 2023

Inflammatory Skin Conditions

Inflammatory skin conditions are a common and uncomfortable group of conditions that can cause a range of symptoms, including redness, swelling, and itching. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental triggers, and other health conditions.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common inflammatory skin conditions and their causes. Understanding these conditions can help you better recognize the signs and symptoms and seek treatment to reduce skin inflammation and redness while improving your overall skin health.

What is Skin Inflammation?

Skin inflammation is a biological response of the skin to harmful stimuli, such as infection, injury, and irritants. It is a complex process involving various cells, cytokines, and other mediators that cause redness, swelling, warmth, pain, and altered function in the affected area.

Inflammation is a normal and important part of the immune system’s response to injury and infection, but chronic or uncontrolled inflammation can lead to tissue damage and contribute to many skin diseases.

Acute vs Chronic Inflammation

Skin inflammation can come in two primary types: acute and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation is a short-term response of the body to injury or infection, characterized by a rapid onset and short duration. It is a protective response that aims to remove harmful stimuli and promote healing. The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation are usually intense, such as redness, swelling, pain, heat, and loss of function in the affected area.

Chronic inflammation is a long-term response of the body to an ongoing stimulus, such as persistent infection or exposure to irritants, and can last for weeks, months, or even years. Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation is not always associated with the classic signs and symptoms of inflammation but can result in tissue damage and dysfunction over time. The intensity of chronic inflammation is typically less severe than acute inflammation, but can still be harmful to the body.

Now, let’s get into our list of the 10 most common skin conditions and diseases.

1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that results in the rapid buildup of skin cells. This buildup of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface, which can be itchy and painful. Psoriasis is a long-lasting disease that can range from mild to severe and can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.


The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, immune system, and environmental factors. In psoriasis, the immune system sends out faulty signals that accelerate the growth of skin cells, leading to the formation of thick, red, scaly patches on the skin. Certain triggers, such as infections, injuries, stress, and medications, can also cause or worsen psoriasis.


Psoriasis can be treated through a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and other therapies. Topical medications such as corticosteroids and retinoids can be used to manage symptoms. Phototherapy, systemic medications, and biologic drugs may be recommended for more severe cases. Additionally, stress reduction techniques, a healthy diet, and avoiding triggers can also help manage the condition.

2. Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but is most commonly found on the face, hands, feet, and in skin creases. Eczema is not contagious and can have periods of flare-ups and remission.


Eczema can develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In people with eczema, their skin’s natural barrier is weakened, making it more vulnerable to irritants and allergens, which can trigger an immune response leading to inflammation and skin damage. Certain triggers such as stress, environmental factors like temperature, and some foods may also exacerbate eczema symptoms.


The treatment of eczema involves several different approaches depending on the seriousness of the condition. Topical medications such as corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors can help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Emollients and moisturizers can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent further irritation. In severe cases, phototherapy, systemic medications, or biologic drugs may be necessary.

3. Hives

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a skin condition characterized by raised, itchy, red, or skin-colored welts that can appear anywhere on the body. They can be small or large, and they often appear in clusters. Hives are a common allergic reaction and can be triggered by a variety of factors.


Hives are caused by a release of histamine in the skin, which causes swelling, redness, and itching. Histamine is released in response to an allergen or other triggers, such as medications, insect bites, infections, or exposure to heat or cold. In some cases, the cause of hives is unknown.


The treatment for hives typically depends on the underlying causes of inflammation. Mild cases of hives often clear up on their own without any treatment. If the hives are more severe, medications like antihistamines or corticosteroids may be prescribed. In some cases, identifying and avoiding the trigger that causes hives can help prevent future outbreaks.

4. Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition characterized by the loss of pigment in the skin, leading to patches of depigmented or white skin. The condition can affect any part of the body, including the hair, mouth, and eyes. Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing skin pigment, are destroyed or stop functioning.


The cause of vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes. Certain factors such as genetics, oxidative stress, and environmental factors may also play a role in the development of vitiligo.


Treatment options for vitiligo include topical corticosteroids, immunomodulators, light therapy, skin grafting, and depigmentation. Topical corticosteroids and immunomodulators can help to control inflammation and reduce the immune system’s attack on melanocytes, while light therapy and skin grafting can help to repigment the skin. Depigmentation is an option for those with extensive or widespread vitiligo who wish to even out the color of their skin.

5. Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that triggers redness and discernible blood vessels in the face, as well as small, red, pus-filled bumps. It usually affects the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose, and can cause a burning or stinging sensation in the affected areas. In some cases, rosacea may also affect the eyes, leading to redness and irritation.


The cause of rosacea is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some factors that may trigger or worsen rosacea symptoms include sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, and certain medications. In addition, a microscopic mite called Demodex folliculorum, which naturally lives on the skin, has been suggested as a possible contributor to the development of rosacea.


Mild cases of rosacea can be treated with topical medications such as metronidazole or azelaic acid, while more severe cases may require oral antibiotics. Laser therapy or other light-based treatments may also be used to reduce the appearance of redness and visible blood vessels associated with rosacea.

6. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes red, itchy, flaky patches on the skin, typically on the scalp, face, and chest. It is a chronic condition that can come and go over time and is often exacerbated by stress, harsh detergents, cold weather, and other environmental factors.


The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, but it is thought to be related to the overgrowth of a type of yeast called Malassezia on the skin. Other factors that may contribute to seborrheic dermatitis include hormonal changes, stress, immune system disorders, and certain neurological conditions.


Seborrheic dermatitis can be treated through various methods, including medicated shampoos, topical creams, and oral medications. Medicated shampoos containing ingredients like ketoconazole and selenium sulfide can help to control the symptoms. Topical creams containing corticosteroids or antifungal agents can also be applied to the affected areas. In some cases, oral medications like antibiotics or antifungal agents may be prescribed to manage the condition.

7. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs when the skin comes in contact with a substance that irritates it or triggers an allergic reaction. The affected area of the skin can become red, itchy, swollen, and painful. Contact dermatitis can be either irritant or allergic, and can affect anyone who comes in contact with a triggering substance.


Contact dermatitis results from direct contact with a substance triggering an allergic reaction. Allergens that can cause contact dermatitis include metals, such as nickel, poison ivy, cosmetics, soaps, and fragrances. Irritants that can cause contact dermatitis include acids, alkaline materials, and solvents.


The treatment of contact dermatitis generally involves identifying and avoiding the allergen or irritant that caused the reaction. Topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching. For more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger prescription-strength corticosteroids, oral antihistamines, or immunomodulators.

8. Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by the thickening and hardening of connective tissues in the body. It affects the skin, blood vessels, and internal organs, leading to a range of symptoms and complications. The severity of scleroderma can vary widely, and there is currently no cure for the condition.


Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissues. The exact cause of scleroderma is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals and viruses.


The treatment of scleroderma often requires prescribed medications that relax the blood vessels to improve circulation and reduce symptoms such as Raynaud’s phenomenon. In more severe cases, immunosuppressive therapy may be used to slow the progression of the disease and reduce inflammation. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help maintain joint mobility and prevent muscle weakness.

9. Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It can occur on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, back, and chest. Acne can range from mild to severe and can cause emotional distress, especially when it is persistent or leaves scars.


Acne is primarily caused by the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that lubricates the skin and hair. Excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells and clog hair follicles, leading to the formation of acne lesions. Bacteria, particularly Propionibacterium acnes, can also contribute to the development of acne by infecting and inflaming clogged hair follicles. Hormonal changes, stress, and certain medications can also contribute to the development of acne.


Acne is commonly treated with topical and/or oral medications that help to reduce inflammation, unclog pores, and kill bacteria. Topical medications may include retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid, while oral medications may include antibiotics or hormonal treatments. In more severe cases, isotretinoin may be prescribed, which is a potent medication that can have side effects and requires close monitoring by a healthcare provider. Additionally, adopting a healthy skincare routine and making lifestyle changes such as reducing stress and avoiding certain foods may also help to improve acne symptoms.

10. Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is a rare inflammatory skin condition that affects the skin, mucous membranes, nails, and hair. It is characterized by flat-topped, shiny, itchy, reddish-purple bumps that can appear on the arms, legs, and trunk, and in the mouth, genitals, and scalp. Lichen planus is not contagious, and the cause of the condition is not yet fully understood.


The exact cause of Lichen Planus is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin or mucous membrane cells. Other factors that may trigger Lichen Planus include viral infections, stress, and exposure to certain chemicals or drugs.


The treatment of lichen planus differs based on the severity of the symptoms. In most cases, lichen planus goes away on its own within several months to a few years. However, if the symptoms are severe or cause significant discomfort, treatment may be necessary.

Topical corticosteroids are commonly used to treat mild to moderate cases of lichen planus. Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed for more severe cases. Other treatments may include antihistamines, phototherapy, and immune-suppressing medications.

How to Reduce Inflammation Naturally

Keeping inflammation down is an effective way to avoid many inflammatory skin conditions and relieve pain naturally. Here are some ways to reduce inflammation naturally:

  • Avoid inflammatory foods: Some of the most common inflammatory foods include sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet: An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Make lifestyle changes: Making healthy lifestyle changes can also help to reduce inflammation. Some changes you can make include getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing stress.
  • Use anti-inflammatory supplements: Certain anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, such as curcumin, black pepper, and ginger, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Continuing with natural anti-inflammatory supplements, here are three proven products to get you started.

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin works by blocking certain enzymes in the body that contribute to inflammation. It also helps to reduce oxidative stress and damage, which can also contribute to inflammation.

Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties by preventing the accumulation of inflammatory molecules in the body. Additionally, it can help balance the body’s pH levels and support the immune system, leading to decreased inflammation.

Elderberry contains anthocyanins, flavonoids, and antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation in the body. It works by blocking the production of cytokines, which are proteins that trigger inflammation.

Inflammatory Skin Diseases: Final Thoughts

Inflammatory skin conditions are a group of diseases that affect the skin and can be caused by a variety of factors. These conditions can be uncomfortable and have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected.

However, with proper treatment and management, many people with inflammatory skin diseases can find relief and improve their overall health and well-being.

If you suspect you have an inflammatory skin disease or condition, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.