Skin inflammation sucks. When my skin gets really inflamed, I tell people it feels like a sunburn and a bruise combined. And, one of the hardest parts about dealing with skin redness is that a lot of the products designed to reduce it are expensive and simply don’t work.
I’ve been dealing with skin inflammation and redness flare-ups for years, so I’ve tried dozens of products and really narrowed it down to the ones that work.
But looking for the triggers is just as important. I’ve also tried to figure out which products make the redness and inflammation worse. Sometimes, you’ll find out that a really great retinol cream that makes your skin look like glass is causing your inflammation. For me, that’s a toss. There are plenty of great products that work well and don’t leave my skin looking like I ran 10 miles in 110 degree heat with no sunblock.
Before I jump in to the products I’ve been relying on lately to calm down redness when it strikes, I want to share some of the reasons why this can happen.
Reasons for Skin Redness:
If you don’t know why your skin gets really red, you may have an undiagnosed condition or maybe you’re having an inflammatory reaction to something in your diet. Our bodies do change as we age and something that didn’t cause any issues before might suddenly be a total no-no as we get older. I feel like my diet has gotten slowly more restrictive as I’ve gotten older. Frustrating? Yes.
Here are other reasons why you could be dealing with skin redness and inflammation in your face:
- Lupus – One of the hallmarks of lupus is the lupus rash and redness on the face, in a butterfly shape. I have this. Often if you’re dealing with a lupus flare, you’ll also have the facial redness, but you can also just have the inflammation in the face at times, too.
- Rosacea – A common skin condition that causes blushing or flushing and visible blood vessels in your face. It may also produce small, pus-filled bumps. These symptoms can flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. Rosacea can be mistaken for acne, other skin problems or natural ruddiness. (source)
- Acne – Breakouts are painful, especially cystic acne, and your whole face can throb with pain and inflammation when your skin is breaking out. Cool the inferno from the inside out. Here are some homemade face masks specifically for acne that might help, too.
- Autoimmune Diseases – Many ADs cause inflammation and that doesn’t just mean your body. It’s all connected, so if you’re dealing with inflammation in other areas, it can absolutely also happen in your face.
- An allergic reaction – Could be from food, a new product, a new body wash, or even a laundry detergent you are using.
- A new medication
How To Reduce Face Redness:
To not only reduce facial redness, but also keep it from flaring up as much, there’s a few things we can do that can help.
- Use soothing skin care with gentle, calming ingredients. It’s time to put down the retinol and major exfoliators and start using products that are designed to reduce skin inflammation.
- Avoid inflammatory foods, such as spicy foods, gluten, sugar, alcohol, dairy (a big one), and anything that affects you personally. Maybe you feel more bloated and your stomach is upset after eating something specific – well, then it’s probably going to be affecting your skin inflammation as well.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods. I wrote a whole post on some good ones here.
- Take anti-inflammatory supplements. If you’re dealing with inflammation in more places than your face, it may be time to heal from the inside out. I share what I take everyday in this post.
- Drink celery juice every day. I started doing this a couple years ago and still drink it almost every day. Read about celery juicing here.
- Drink lots of water. Always the water. Helps with everything.
Best Products for Skin Redness:
These products are my go-to for reducing redness and inflammation. While my skin isn’t your skin, I hope this will give you a list to start with as you begin to find the products that really work for you. If you buy something and it doesn’t help, or makes it worse, stop using it and try to return it. You are your own best advocate.
*Affiliate links are used below, which means at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you make a purchase thr0ugh my links. Thank you!
1. Calming Cleanser: Honest Gentle Gel Cleanser
I’ve been using this for years and just love it. Takes off makeup without stripping the skin, too. Very affordable also. I really love this one, but I also wrote a post with other facial cleansers that I like that are also great for sensitive skin. Check out that post here.
2. Serum: La Roche Posay Rosaliac AR Intense
Specifically part of their Rosacea line, this is soothing and helps reduce the blood flow to the skin, which in turn will reduce the redness. They have great deal on their site or you can get it on Amazon.
3. Daily Moisturizer with SPF: La Roche Posay Toleriane SPF 30
I’ve used this for years. I put this on over my serum and then it also acts as a great primer for tinted moisturizer or foundation. The cooling water they infuse in their products really does calm and soothe the skin. I love this. You can also get this one on Amazon.
4. Perricone MD CBD Ultra-Lightweight Calming SPF Skin Veil:
I’ve just started exploring CBD skin care. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Perricone has a whole line for sensitive and inflamed skin. This daily sunscreen skin veil is lighter than air and feels like velvet on the skin. Really well made and soothing. The CBD had a noticeably calming effect on my skin on a particularly inflamed day. It’s an investment, so I save it for when my skin really needs it.
5. Day Cream/Color Correct: Hero Rescue Balm & Color Correct
This feels amazing, is super affordable, and has a green tint to color correct during the day. If you’re inflamed, try not to layer makeup on top, unless you know your makeup won’t irritate any more. This has color correct to tone down redness, so you may be able to go without makeup for a few days. It’s also a great primer if you do want to put on a light tinted moisturizer or layer. I’ll write a post soon on the best tinted moisturizers and foundations for sensitive skin.
Calming Skin Masks:
Masks are a great way to soothe skin, because you saturate the skin in the product and let it sink in for at least 10-15 minutes. Some of these are sleeping masks that you won’t wash off, so you’re getting really active ingredients on the skin for a long period of time.
6. Perricone MD Acne Relief Calming and Soothing Clay Mask:
Another skin care product from Perricone that is so good. I’ve been using this one a lot lately, too, because sometimes inflamed skin also comes with breakouts and blemishes. This one will cool your skin down while also battling breakouts. Soothing clay will also dry them out, without leaving your skin dry.
7. Bliss What a Melon Overnight Mask:
Here’s a really affordable and comparable mask that will soothe and de-stress skin overnight. Bliss is one of those lines with incredible products that are surprisingly affordable. There was a Bliss day spa near me years ago and it was amazing. Back then, you could only get the products at the spa or high-end shops, but they’ve made them super affordable since then and I am always impressed with them.
8. Watermelon Glow & AHA Sleeping Mask:
This is cold even if you don’t keep it in the beauty fridge and has a soft jelly consistency. It feels absolutely amazing on my skin and I wake up glowing without any irritation. I have been using this weekly lately, because other night serums and masks aren’t great when I’m inflamed, but this one I can still use.
9. Sand & Sky Moisture Super Bounce Mask:
So soothing and cooling. Absolutely love. I wrote a whole post about this line of products bursting with Australian superfruits. They smell delicious and make my skin so hydrated and juicy. At my age, it’s a daily battle to look hydrated and if my skin gets dry, every little fine line starts peeking through. Products like this are an important part of my daily routine. Read all the products I use from this line here.
Nighttime Skin Care Routine for Inflamed Skin:
Start by washing your face and then apply the La Roche Posay serum again. Follow with this super light, cooling night cream.
10. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream:
More affordable than the Watermelon Glow and equally soothing. It’s great for a night cream when you’re inflamed, dealing with blemishes, or doing the summer when you need to lighten up your skin care. So light and sinks right into your skin.
Products To Avoid:
When you’re feeling your skin is redder than normal or just inflamed, here are the products that I have found to be better left unused:
- Retinols: This is the main offender for me. When I start to use too much retinol, my skin flares up.
- Exfoliators: Gentle exfoliators, such as products listed above that also have AHA in them or something are going to be fine, but a product focusing on exfoliation or a scrub where you can feel the exfoliators is a big no-no.
- Devices: This is not the time to scrub your skin with brushes, facial brushes, any type of skin care device that irritates skin, just say no.
- Heavy Makeup: Try to stay away from foundation if you can and if you can’t, switch to a really lightweight, breathable tinted moisturizer and spot treat any blemishes that bother you. Let your skin breathe and heal.
- Makeup Setting Spray: For the same reason as the heavy makeup, you want to let your skin breathe, not lock it down.
- Anything irritating. Listen to you skin. Maybe go back to a really simple routine, let your skin heal, and then re-introduce your regular products one at a time for a few days to find the offender.
I hope these tips and product suggestions give you some new ideas. Living with the lupus rash, rosacea, facial redness or just skin inflammation is so uncomfortable and it can be really embarrassing, too.
I’ll be sharing more tips like this, so stick around and let me know in the comments below if you have particular skin are concerns.
Have a fabulous day,