Your skin is smart! When it’s under stressful conditions it produces oil to protect itself, when we’re hot it generates cooling sweat and when it’s compromised it dilates blood vessels to protect the area. It is through these skin reactions that we can better understand how to care for our skin and keep it looking and functioning it’s best.
When we experience redness in the skin, this can be a red flag that something is unbalanced. We’ve waded through the science to help you decode your dermis and give you the dos and don’ts to help calm redness in the skin.
Why does skin get red?
The redness or flushing of skin comes from the widening of blood vessels that allows more blood into the skin’s surface. This can occur for a number of reasons, during exercise or exposure to warm temperatures to help cool the body, after sun exposure to help deliver immune cells to damaged tissues, and even after exposure to physical or chemical irritants to help clear waste and heal the area. While acute redness, like in the context of a hard workout, is completely normal and healthy, longer-term skin redness can be a warning sign that the skin is being damaged or is reacting to a product or practice in your life.
When to seek medical attention:
- If redness is accompanied by severe pain or swelling
- If redness spreads over a large surface of skin
- If skin is broken due to trauma
- If redness is accompanied by trouble breathing
Stop doing these things if you’re experiencing redness:
- STOP using body products on your face – body washes, bar soaps, and scrubs can be well-tolerated by the physiology of the skin on our body but can often be too harsh for the more delicate facial skin.
- STOP using hair spray – Fragrance and chemical adhesive ingredients that settle on the skin from hair products have been shown to make rosacea and other skin imbalances worse. Try switching to a hair mouse, wax or non-spay form of hair product or be sure to wash your face thoroughly after using such products.
- STOP using products containing synthetic fragrance – these ingredients have been shown to cause inflammatory reactions in the skin and can hide on ingredient lists simply labeled as parfum or fragrance.
- STOP using physical exfoliants on your face – gritty scrubs, bristly facial tools, and rough cloths can cause micro tearing in the skin leading to broken blood vessels and redness-inducing reactions.
- STOP using astringent ingredients – denatured alcohol and witch hazel strip skin of it’s natural protective oils and aggravates skin (avoid products with SD alcohol or alcohol denatured).
- STOP mixing actives – if your regimen includes chemical exfoliants, acids, retinoids, and acne products you may be interacting and causing over-exfoliation and redness (avoid mixing AHA’s, vitamin C, retinol/retinoic acid, or benzyl alcohol).
Try these things for calming redness:
- Always wear a broad-spectrum SPF – while UVA rays from the sun cause long-term skin damage UVB rays cause a red sunburn by damaging cells leading to inflammation, blood vessel dilation and reddening the skin. Try The Perfect Sunscreen!
- Simplify your regimen – If you’ve overdone it on active ingredients, use harsh products, or apply formulas containing fragrance, your skin can use a reset. Go back to basics with the perfect cleanse, treat, protect regimen.
- Boost with botanicals – using ingredients like niacinamide, green tea, algae, poria mushroom, tall reed extract, and aloe can help reduce redness in the skin so opting for products containing these ingredients can improve skin with each use.
Take notes! Keep track of any skin care, dietary and lifestyle factors that irritate your skin leading to redness. This can make a huge difference in navigating skin triggers and can help reduce the instance of skin imbalances. Download our FREE HABIT TRACKER to help you along the way! After all great skin comes from more than just great skin care.