In spite of the immeasurable ways that skin comes into contact with the outside world, you really only perceive three distinct things through the skin: pressure, temperature, and pain. Gentle stimulation of pain receptors result in a neurological transmission that triggers your body to itch. Scratching nips an itch in the bud by creating a counter-irritation on the skin that diverts the brain's perception of the itchy sensation. But imagine an itch that never goes away no matter what you do. This state of perpetual itchiness is a fact of life for many people suffering from dermatitis conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rashes.

Luckily there are solutions like Greensations ThermaSkin Natural Skin Therapy ($12). This super-charged spray is suitable for any area that feels itchy or inflamed, from bug bites to dry skin. When the all-natural, cucumber-infused mist comes into contact with skin, it generates a warming sensation that extinguishes the urge to itch, thus using temperature to overcome pain. By boosting blood flow and circulation, the thermal action triggers nerve receptors to promote the healing process. ThermaSkin's blend of herbs, antioxidants, and emollients further nourish and repair the affected area.

My skin is no stranger to extreme dryness when winter rolls around. If I don't apply moisturizer immediately after washing my face or getting out of the shower, within minutes my skin feels uncomfortably parched and the area around my nose starts to peel. After I sprayed ThermaSkin on my freshly-cleansed face, it no longer felt like an arid desert (though the desert's heat was there). A fiery tingle akin to a lip plumper's aftereffect gradually spread to the parts of my face that had been enduring occasional redness and irritation (probably triggered by sensitivity to a synthetic product). As the gentle burn subsided, my skin no longer screamed for moisture nor prickled from inflammation.

I also tested the spray on a swathe of super tender skin that stung from shaving with a dull razor. A spritz of ThermaSkin instantly drew blood bubbles to the surface, and my discomfort abated within seconds. I have no reason to think that skin tormented by a rash, bite, or severe dermatitis wouldn't enjoy similar relief. In fact, continuous application of ThermaSkin could feasibly be the holy grail for itchy skin conditions. I don't think, however, that it is potent enough to suppress an itch or moisturize for an extended period. As with any water-based solution, the effects evaporate over time.

So where does ThermaSkin's therapeutic magic come from? Its formula is comparable to that of a very smart, very clean toner. Kicking synthetic chemicals to the curb, ThermaSkin draws on the proven powers of two natural actives. An invigorating combination of coffee bean-derived caffeine and capsaicin pepper work to jump-start skin cell regeneration, thus promoting epidermal healing. When these two heat-generating actives are applied to the skin, they speed up the absorption of other ingredients, which in the case of some products can be a frightening thing. But in the presence of ThermaSkin's botanical bounty, fear should be the last thing on your mind.

Next on the ingredients list after caffeine is green tea extract, a versatile antioxidant that not only protects from oxidative damage but also acts as an anti-inflammatory. The tannins in witch hazel give it natural astringent properties which can heal and tighten skin without overdrying. Even though a study has shown that witch hazel can be effective in lessening atopic eczema, it can also become irritating if applied in excess. While plant-derived glycerin is a beneficial emollient, yuzu oil is credited with tonight, brightening, and energizing properties. Additional antioxidants come from vitamin C and rosemary extract (also a key component in Philip B's DIY toner).

The potent antioxidant alpha lipoic acid is rare for its dual fat and water solubility, which means that it can work inside the cell and in the cell membrane. Clinical test have proven that skin treated topically with ALA can improve the appearance of scars and iron out wrinkles. Perhaps more importantly, it can fight future skin cell damage and inflammation, in addition to boosting the efficacy of other antioxidants. The formula's preservative of choice, potassium sorbate, is one of the safest and gentlest preservatives on the market. Developed from a naturally occurring acid in mountain ash tree berries, potassium sorbate has such a trusted long-term safety record that it is often used in food and wine products.

The caffeinated capsaicin spray's cucumber water lends a refreshing scent, but avoid inhaling while spraying. I found myself sneezing after inadvertently breathing in the mist (whose wholesome droplets should pose no real danger to the body). But what sets the atomized spray format apart from its lotion and cream compatriots is its no-muss, no-fuss application that enables the skin-healing actives to penetrate evenly. Even if you're not irked by an itch, your skin can still benefit from a ThermaSkin-powered spritz.

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Ingredients:

Purified Water, Caffeine, Green Tea Extract, Witch Hazel, Cucumber Water, Yuzu Oil, Rosemary Extract, Oleoresin Capsicum, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vegetable Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate.