How to Get Rid of Redness in Your Face
A flushed face can be difficult to ignore and wreak havoc on your confidence. Aside from the embarrassment of it being on your face, facial redness is often uncomfortable and accompanied by itching and/or burning. Some causes are fairly easy to treat with a cool compress or calming mask, while other causes of facial redness require the help of a dermatologist or skincare pro. Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered. Read on for everything you need to know about how to get rid of redness in your face.
What is facial redness?
Facial redness is essentially inflammation of the skin. Inflammation is the body’s natural response mechanism to heal itself. The redness occurs because our bodies are bringing blood close to the surface of the skin and dilating capillaries trying to heal themselves. If left unchecked, inflammation can become very harmful to the skin, creating a never-ending loop of redness of the face as the skin creates more inflammation to heal the area.
What are the causes of skin redness?
There are lots of things that can contribute to facial redness, from your lifestyle habits to the skincare products you’re using, to your health. The following are the most common causes of a flushed face.
Rosacea is a common skin condition affecting over 400 million people worldwide. Rosacea causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face. It can also be accompanied by small, red, pus-filled bumps. Symptoms can flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. Rosacea can affect anyone. But it's most common in middle-aged women who have light skin.
The symptoms of rosacea include the following:
Rosacea causes a persistent redness of your face. Small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks often swell, becoming more visible.
People with rosacea can develop pimples on their faces resembling acne. These bumps sometimes contain pus and feel hot and tender.
Many people with rosacea can also experience dry, irritated, red, swollen eyes, and eyelids. This is known as ocular rosacea. In some cases, the eye symptoms precede the skin symptoms.
Over time, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing it to appear bulbous.
Nearly 32 million Americans, or roughly one-tenth of the population, suffer from some form of eczema. Eczema is basically sensitive skin that shows up in the form of red, dry, itchy patches on the skin. It typically flares up within the first year of life and during the toddler years and clears up by puberty. However, adults can also suffer from eczema.
Acne redness is made up of pustules or papules. Severe acne can cause painful inflamed red bumps and skin thickening. This is the one case where you're allowed to pile on all of the ingredients you should avoid when dealing with facial redness- more about that later!
4. Over Exfoliation
It's not ideal to use skin exfoliants like skin acids or retinoids if you’re trying to rid your face of redness, especially if you have dry skin. The combination of being both dry and inflamed can severely weaken your skin barrier and trigger more inflammation. Put down the exfoliants and give your barrier function a boost with a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid.
5. UV Exposure
Too much time in the sun can cause your skin to stay in a state of persistent redness. Make sure you’re using lathering on the anti-aging sunscreen every day, no matter what the weather. You don’t need to see the sun for it’s UV rays to do damage (and cause redness) to your skin.
6. Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a fancy way of saying an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis appears if your skin has a reaction to something. Contact dermatitis can occur as a result of direct irritation or because your immune system has an allergy. Some common irritating ingredients are things like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, fragrances, and preservatives.
7. Alcohol flush
An alcohol flush happens when your face turns red with alcohol consumption. Alcohol flushing occurs because the body lacks the enzyme to properly break down alcohol. This causes an alcohol byproduct to accumulate under the skin and cause the face to get red.
Six steps to get rid of redness on your face
1. Use a cool compress
Sometimes treating red skin can be as simple as applying a cool compress to the affected area. To calm flushed skin, place a clean washcloth in a plastic bag filled with ice cubes and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cloth and leave it on the skin for about 20 minutes.
2. Use soothing ingredients
The best way to prevent the inflammation responsible for red skin is to use soothing ingredients. Rosewater is known for reducing redness and calming irritated skin and it is naturally packed with vitamins A, C, and E, which will leave your skin cool and hydrated.
3. Avoid irritating ingredients
Redness can be exacerbated by certain ingredients in skincare—namely acids, which are commonly used to exfoliate the skin. Steer clear of retinoids as well, as these can further irritate sensitive skin. Use acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide with caution. And stay away from harsh exfoliating products that can further irritate your skin. Instead, opt for a gentle exfoliating cleanser.
4. Make some changes to your lifestyle
Certain lifestyle habits may be contributing to your facial redness. Making a few changes can help rid your face of its annoying flush. We recommend the following lifestyle changes if you're trying to rid yourself of redness.
Decrease your time in the sun and wear sunscreen everyday.
When you plan to be in the sun, arm yourself with big hats and umbrellas.
Stop smoking cigarettes.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which displaces the oxygen in the skin, and nicotine, which reduces blood flow, leaving the skin dry and red. Smoking cigarettes also depletes the skin of nutrients, including vitamin C, which helps protect and repair skin.
- Decrease (or stop altogether) your alcohol consumption
As we mentioned above, for some people drinking alcohol induces a chemical reaction that causes the face to flush. So if you’re experiencing a red face when you have a glass of white, this one’s a no-brainer.
Avoid spicy foods
According to a National Rosacea Society survey of 1,066 rosacea patients, 45% were affected by spicy foods. Stick to the list of soothing spices from above (coriander, cardamom, saffron, fennel, and turmeric).
- Add vitamin C to your skincare routine
Studies show that Vitamin C can reduce inflammation. If you’re dealing with red skin, add a vitamin c booster into your product lineup.
5. Consult your dermatologist
You don't need to worry about any redness that goes away quickly. On the other hand, If your facial redness has appeared suddenly and doesn’t seem to be getting better on its own or with over-the-counter products within 2 weeks, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeing a dermatologist.
If you’ve ever been embarrassed by facial redness you know that the skin condition can be annoying and unpredictable, but it is both preventable and treatable. Follow our tips, load up on the right skincare ingredients, or make an appointment with your doctor and kiss that flush goodbye!
6. Adjust your diet
Ridding your face of flush can be as easy as making some simple changes in your diet. Below the best foods to eat and the foods to avoid for easing facial redness.
Best foods to eat to get rid of redness in your face
- Vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini
- Soothing spices like coriander, cardamom, saffron, fennel, and turmeric
- Goat cheese
- Non-citrus fruits like grapes, melons, and mango
Foods to avoid to get rid of redness in your face:
- Pungent or sour vegetables like tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, radishes, and spinach
- Hot coffee or tea
- Citrus fruits
- Sugars and starches