Help, my flare-ups are getting out of control!

Red, dry, stingy... Your skin's in a state and it shows. Skin irritations are a painful beauty bane, so here are our tips on how to soothe your face and body back into shape.

What is irritated skin?

Firstly, irritated, itchy skin and allergic reactions are two different beasts. Irritated skin is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction or damage to our skin's natural barrier. The result? Visibly irritated skin that feels tight, stingy and/or itchy. It's usually our face that suffers, with our eye contour and eyelids getting the worse deal. Our hands also bear the brunt - irritated, red, swollen, itchy skin on the back of our hands, rough or cracked skin on our palms and fingers. Body-wise, our skin dries, cracks and peels.

How to soothe irritated skin

Firstly, stop using products that may be causing flare-ups. Cleanse your face with a pH neutral lotion or thermal water and apply moisturisers designed for reactive skin that contain soothing, softening and healing active ingredients. If your eyelids are on fire, avoid make up until any irritation dies down. Treat your body to calming, rich gels, soap-free bars or gentle surfactant soaps. Follow with a soothing, cold-cream type lotion.

How to avoid flare-ups

Whether it's for your body or face, opt for simple formulae: soapless, hypo-allergenic treatments that don't contain perfumes, colourings, parabens or ingredients guaranteed to fire up reactive skin. Avoid cortisone-based creams, as they only temporarily soothe rather than treat irritations. And don't forget to religiously protect your skin from the sun with a sunscreen or BB creamthat contains an SPF.