It may be attractive to have skin that glows, but too much redness can be a problem. Some people have sensitive skin that becomes red and itchy when they use certain skin products or when they expose their skin to extremes in temperature or wind. But there are other causes of red skin as well.
Skin can be red for brief for periods of time from a viral infection, sunburn or an allergic reaction. People with some medical conditions and skin conditions such as eczema have red skin that’s usually itchy and crusty. Aggressively exfoliating or using skin care products with ingredients that irritate skin like retinoids can also cause redness. This type of redness usually resolves over time once the cause is removed. People with a skin condition called psoriasis usually have areas of patchy redness that may be covered with silver scales.
Another skin condition called rosacea causes skin redness that’s more chronic. Unlike transient redness that comes from skin irritation, rosacea is a skin condition that usually keeps coming back. People with this issue usually have reddened skin, flushing and sometimes acne-like outbreaks triggered by factors such as sunlight, stress, cosmetics, temperature changes, alcohol or certain foods, especially spicy varieties. Sometimes the blood vessels on the face become more prominent with rosacea. Although rosacea sometimes looks like acne, it is a different problem and unlike acne it’s most common in people between the ages of 30 and 60.
There are a variety of treatments for skin redness. Everyone should wear a sunscreen, but it’s especially important for people with red, sensitive skin to wear one since sun exposure can worsen rosacea and eczema. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 greater that’s formulated specifically for sensitive skin. It’s also important to identify foods or personal care products that trigger redness and avoid them. It may be helpful to keep a food diary to see if certain foods make the problem worse.
Skin care products can also be an issue for people with redness due to sensitive skin, rosacea or eczema. Some skin care products and cosmetics can trigger redness or make existing redness worse. To avoid this problem, choose a gentle, non-soap cleanser that’s fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and formulated for the special needs of skin that’s sensitive. Avoid using exfoliating pads and alcohol-based toners, and don’t scrub your skin aggressively with a washcloth. It’s best to cleanse using your hands.
Always follow cleansing with a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer. Sensitive skin and skin with rosacea or other skin condition needs moisture to maintain its natural barrier against water loss. Look for products that contain botanicals and herbals that soothe irritated skin such as chamomile or aloe. Avoid using skin care products that contain alpha-hydroxy-acids or retinoic acids if you have problems with skin redness. These ingredients are too irritating for delicate complexions.
Cosmetics can make skin redness less obvious, but it’s important to choose products that are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. Start by applying a primer that has a green base to mask redness. Follow-up by using a light foundation formulated for sensitive skin or a mineral-based makeup. Limit the number of products you put on your face. The more products you use, the more likely that encounter an ingredient that causes irritation or redness.
There are other treatments available for specific skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis that don’t respond to home treatments. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a dermatologist if you don’t know why you’re experiencing skin redness. In some cases, it can be a sign of a more serious health condition.