How to Calm Skin Redness and Inflammation

Jun. 18, 2020
Say goodbye to itchy, red and inflamed skin with these soothing ingredients.
Dealing with facial redness, flushed, and irritated skin can be frustrating. The majority of us eventually face this concern at one point in our skincare journey but especially those with sensitive skin may experience it quite often. Redness and sensitivity can be a source of insecurity and even a sign of underlying health issues. It is essential to find a way to calm the redness and inflammation by consulting with a specialist and identifying the reason for it.
What Causes Redness and Irritation?
From eczema and rosacea to acne and over-exfoliation, there are many reasons you might get red and inflamed skin. Here are some of the most common causes of redness and irritation: 
  • Inflammatory acne – it can be anything from a tiny blemish to deep cysts and it results in swelling, redness, and bumps.
  • Rosacea – a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes redness, visible blood vessels, and small, red bumps. It can be triggered by extreme temperatures or spicy food, for example.
  • Eczema – itchy, red, inflamed, and dry skin that can lead to a compromised skin barrier.
  • Contact dermatitis – this happens when your skin has an allergic reaction to a product, such as a cream, a serum, or a face mask, and usually contains potentially irritating ingredients like fragrance and dyes.
  • Over-exfoliation – home peels are great but they should be used carefully, as overdoing them can lead to burning and stinging sensation, and weakening the skin’s natural barrier function.
Reduce Skin Redness and Inflammation
Redness and irritation can happen to the best of us. Luckily there are plenty of skin-loving ingredients that are effective when it comes to soothing the skin.
Azelaic acidAzelaic acid is an ingredient known to reduce inflammation that helps the skin look less red and less irritated. It also fights dark spots and unclogs pores for a more even complexion.
NiacinamideNiacinamide acts as an antioxidant and decreases redness and hyperpigmentation while improving the skin’s natural barrier function.
Salicylic acidA beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), known for its pore-unclogging effect in treating oily and acne-prone skin. It is less known that it is also a great anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredient.
Licorice extractA plant extract that has anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. It also evens out the skin tone by brightening the complexion and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and discoloration. 
Centella AsiaticaAnother botanical extract that you may have come across as part of your favorite K-beauty products. Sensitive and redness-prone skin can benefit from using this ingredient, as it calms inflammation, gives the skin a serious boost of hydration, and revitalizes skin’s protective barrier. It is known by a variety of names, so look out for tiger grass, Gotu kola, Brahmi, or Asiatic pennywort on your labels.
Green teaGreen tea is similar to Centella Asiatica, as they are plant-derived antioxidants with soothing properties. Both originate from traditional medicine and are now scientifically-proven to hold those benefits.
AllantoinThis is a by-product of uric acid, extracted from urea but it also occurs naturally in the body. As a plant extract it can be derived from chamomile and is effective in calming sensitive and redness-prone skin. 
Colloidal oatmealProduced by finely grinding oats and then boiling them, colloidal oatmeal has water-binding properties and is effective in skin protection, while soothing inflammation and redness. It contains a high concentration of beta-glucan that is a known anti-irritant and skin-soothing agent.
Tips for Avoiding Redness
It is not always easy to prevent skin inflammation and redness but there are known triggers that you might want to stay away from.
  • Start from within – anti-inflammatory diet is a thing and it can be quite beneficial. Fish and green leafy vegetables, probiotics, and vitamin D supplements not only deliver the needed nutrition but also regulate redness and the appearance of flushed cheeks. 
  • Limit exposure to irritants – steer clear from potentially irritating ingredients, such as fragrance, dyes, drying alcohols, essential oils, and phthalates.
  • Avoid stressors – sunlight, smoking, coffee, and spicy foods are proven to trigger conditions like rosacea.
  • Wear sunscreen – SPF reduces the flaring that comes from sun exposure.
  • Commit to a simple skincare routine – it’s fine to try different products but start with one active ingredient and add another, only if you’re sure that your skin tolerates the first one without any irritation.
No matter the culprit, it is crucial to prevent and treat redness and inflammation before it leads to more serious skin and health concerns. Along with the skin-soothing agents mentioned above, you can benefit from adding hydrating components, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides to your regimen. It is essential to strengthen the skin barrier, avoid potentially irritating ingredients, and protect the skin from environmental stressors.
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