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How to Reduce Redness on Your Face: 10 Do’s and Dont’s

How to Reduce Redness on Your Face: 10 Do’s and Dont’s

by Antoinette Barnardo 20 Nov 2019

Most of you are no strangers to redness appearing on your face. The underlying causes of facial redness are usually due to skin conditions such as erythema, rosacea, or acne breakouts. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, skin conditions like rosacea and eczema are ranked the fourth most common cause of human illness, which signifies how prevalent facial redness is in the general public. 

As a result, knowing how to reduce redness on your face has become an increasingly important health issue. To help you achieve this, we've listed out the seven most common causes of facial redness, as well as the 10 do’s and don'ts that will help you reduce and prevent skin redness on your face. 

7 Common Causes of Facial Redness

These are the seven most common causes of facial redness which you may have personally experienced before. 

1. Erythema 

Erythema occurs when the blood capillaries become congested or dilated. This causes the skin to appear flushed. We will focus on face-related erythema which shows up as two types: 

Erythema Multiforme 

Erythema multiforme is characterised by skin lesions appearing on your arms, legs, and face which may be accompanied by mild itching or burning. These lesions are flat at first but can swell and form blisters. The number one trigger for this condition is herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. It could also be caused by bacterial infections, drugs, or vaccines. 

Erythema multiforme is more common among young adults but can occur in individuals of all ages. Those at a higher risk of erythema multiforme are individuals with: 

  • HIV infection 
  • Corticosteroid exposure
  • Bone marrow transplant 
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 
  • Graft versus host disease (GVHD) 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 

Erythema multiforme can be subcategorised into erythema multiforme minor and erythema multiforme major. The latter is a more severe form of the condition and may be associated with fever, chills, or joint pain. 

Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) 

Even though the terms sound similar, PIE is distinctly different from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIE is due to damaged blood vessels caused by acne or other skin inflammation issues and appears as red spots on lighter-skinned individuals (Fitzpatrick types I to III). In contrast, PIH results from abnormal melanin production in the skin in response to skin inflammation and appears as brown spots. It's also more common in darker-skinned individuals. 

2. Rosacea 

Rosacea is characterised by facial redness on your cheeks and nose and pimple-like red bumps. As such, rosacea is sometimes confused with pimple breakouts. Some individuals may even experience ocular rosacea which results in irritated and swollen eyes and eyelids. Recurrence is usually common with rosacea and can be triggered by: 

  • Alcohol 
  • Spicy foods 
  • Extreme changes in temperatures 
  • Certain medications 
  • Certain ingredients in personal care products 

3. Allergic Contact Dermatitis 

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when chemical substances in a product causes an allergic reaction of your skin. This could lead to redness of the skin, dryness, extreme itchiness, burning, sun sensitivity or even blisters. Common allergens include fragrances or chemicals in skincare products such as your cleanser or moisturiser. 

4. Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, has been known to affect 31.6% of individuals in the U.S. It results in rashes that are itchy, red, inflamed, and dry, with the possibility of blisters forming. Eczema can be triggered by certain foods in your diet, air pollutants, or pollen. 

5. Alcohol Flush 

As its name suggests, alcohol flush refers to facial redness brought about by the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, is responsible for breaking down toxic acetaldehyde into nontoxic acetic acid. When there is a genetic mutation in the gene, ALDH2, insufficient aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 enzyme is produced which causes acetaldehyde to build up in the blood and result in alcohol flushing. 

6. Sunburn 

Sunburn is another common cause of facial redness due to prolonged sun exposure that results in sun damage. Your skin becomes red and tight with a painful sensation. In more severe cases, you may even experience fever, chills, nausea, or headaches. Peeling and itchiness usually result after a few days. 

7. Acne 

Some of you may have dealt with acne breakouts in your teenage years, but did you know that 12-22% of women also suffer from adult acne? Acne breakouts are usually caused by: 

  • Excess sebum 
  • Clogged pores
  • Hormones 
  • Stress 
  • Sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods
  • Acne-causing bacteria — Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) 

How to Reduce Redness on Your Face

After understanding the different physiological conditions that could result in facial redness, the most important question is how to reduce and prevent it from happening again. These are 10 do’s and don'ts for a redness-free complexion. 

1. Don't Drink Alcohol

This works best if you suffer from alcohol flushing. Instead of indulging in a martini on date night, switch to non-alcoholic drinks, like mocktails and spritzers. 

2. Don't Eat Spicy Foods

If spicy foods are the reason behind your rosacea or eczema flare-ups, it's time to cut them out of your diet. While you might miss the spicy kick, the lack of skin redness is a non-miss. 

3. Don't Use Fragrances and Harsh Chemicals

As mentioned earlier, fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals in your cleanser or lotion could be what's triggering your bouts of allergic contact dermatitis or rosacea. If a recent makeup, laundry, or skincare product doesn't seem to be playing well with your skin, odds are that you are allergic to one (or a few) of the ingredients. You can check out this complete list of potential allergens for more information. 

Keep track of ingredients that cause your skin to respond negatively, and make sure to buy laundry and skincare products that are free from these triggers. 

4. Don't Over-Exfoliate

Over-exfoliation can impair your skin's protective barrier and lead to inflammation which can worsen your facial redness. Cut down to exfoliating once a week and see how your skin reacts before you decide to increase the frequency. 

You should also stay away from physical exfoliants whose abrasive ingredients could be too much for your skin to handle right now. If you want to try chemical exfoliants, stick to poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs) and salicylic acid. PHAs are less likely to sensitise your skin thanks to their large molecular size and have been known to treat rosacea and eczema. Salicylic acid is also great for targeting P. acnes bacteria, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

5. Don't Pick at Your Pimples 

This is a major no-no if your facial redness is due to an acne breakout. Picking or popping your pimples will leave behind acne wounds which lead to PIE. 

To prevent yourself from touching your pimple, apply an acne patch over it. This will not only protect it from itchy hands and bacteria but also accelerate the wound recovery rate and reduce skin redness. Choose one with anti-inflammatory ingredients in it to provide additional redness relief. 

6. Use Sunscreen 

Sunscreen protects your skin from UV-induced inflammation and reduces the risk of sunburn-induced skin redness. To avoid further sensitising your skin, opt for a mineral-based, broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that does not contain chemical irritants. 

7. Strengthen Your Skin's Acid Mantle

The term acid mantle was coined by physicians Heinrich Schade and Alfred Marchionini in 1928 to describe the skin's protective film. This thin film has a slightly acidic level of pH 5.5 which is essential for good skin health. 

In cases of skin conditions like rosacea, erythema, acne, and dermatitis issues, the acid mantle has likely been compromised and requires some TLC to strengthen it. Use low-pH skincare products that contain skin-nourishing ingredients like: 

Try YORA's Revitalise Face Moisturiser infused with mineral-rich Swiss glacier water, plant sugar-derived squalane, and a proprietary hyaluronic acid blend of PRIMALHYAL 50 and PrimalHyal™ 300 to strengthen your skin's acid mantle and reduce the occurrence of skin redness on your face.

8. Use Anti-Inflammatory and Hydrating Ingredients

On top of strengthening your acid mantle, you should also choose skincare products that contain anti-inflammatory and hydrating ingredients that provide redness relief. These include: 

Use a deeply hydrating cream cleanser like the YORA's Rebalance Face Cleanser which contains anti-inflammatory chamomile and hydrating avocado oil to help reduce facial redness.

9. Use Mineral-Based Makeup

You can also use makeup such as a concealer or foundation to cover up skin redness. Choose mineral-based products that contain iron oxides, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. These ingredients are anti-inflammatory and less likely to sensitise your skin. 

Moreover, mineral-based makeup is usually free from fragrances and preservatives — skin-irritants that are often found in conventional makeup products. 

10. Seek Medical Advice

If your symptoms of facial redness persist or worsen, it's time to visit your health professional. 

Certain skin conditions, such as erythema multiforme minor and dermatitis, may clear up on their own after some time or when you've removed triggers from your daily routine. In more serious cases, you may need to see a doctor or a dermatologist and get prescription topical creams or antibiotics. For erythema multiforme major or erythema multiforme recurrent cases, you may require antiviral drugs to help resolve the condition. 

A Wholistic Approach for Reducing Facial Redness

If you've been struggling with facial redness all your life, it's time to put a stop to it by following this wholistic approach for reducing the redness of the skin. Identify the triggers that are making your skin red and eliminate them from your daily routine. 

Patience and consistency are the secret formula here as facial redness takes time to fade. If your skin tone still shows no signs of improvement, it's best to seek help from your dermatologist or doctor for professionally certified health solutions.

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