Facial Redness Treatment
By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Mon, Oct 14, 2019
Best Dermatologist’s Tips to Calm Facial Redness
Facial redness is embarrassing. When you use the right skin care products and routine you can control facial redness. If you choose the wrong products, your facial redness will get worse. Understanding why your facial skin turns red will help you pick the right products for your skin type.
The most common causes of facial redness are rosacea and facial seborrhea (facial dandruff).
It's true, most people troubled with facial redness either have:
Yes you can have both - and it's common. Treat these conditions with the right skin care routine and your facial redness will improve.
Sun damage can cause facial redness too, because sun damaged skin is thin, fragile and easily inflamed.
Irritation of facial skin from exposure to harsh climates, skin care products or skin treatments can also cause redness of facial skin.
The bottom line is that facial redness often indicates that the skin is compromised, sensitive, and needs special care.
Why is red facial skin extra sensitive?
Facial redness often means that the skin's barrier is weakened. It is in all of the conditions that I mentioned above. Skin with weakened barrier is easily irritated, meaning it's sensitive!
Sensitive redness prone facial skin may also be more prone to developing allergies and intolerances to some of the harsher skin care ingredients present in acne treatment products and anti-aging products. These include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, vitamin C, niacinamide, azelaic acid, fragrances, harsh preservatives, alcohol and AHAs such as glycolic acid. Chemical sunscreen active ingredients (but not the mineral UV filters zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) can also irritate redness prone facial skin.
Complexions suffering from facial redness need to use hypoallergenic and non-irritating products for most of their facial skin care. Dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, MD
What are the best skin care products and skin care routines to fight facial redness?
You can improve facial redness with a skin care routine that is soothing and does not overly dry or irritate your sensitive skin. It is also important to use deeply hydrating products to heal your weakened skin barrier.
4 key tips for choosing skin care products to help calm facial redness:
1. Choose cleansers that are gentle for your complexion and that don’t leave your skin with a tight and dry feel that indicates impending irritation, skin dryness and early skin barrier damage
2. Always balance skin hydration after applying other product by using a moisturizer that is matched to your skin type. This is important because hydrated skin heals faster than dry and stressed skin.
3. Sun protection is important, and mineral zinc oxide is best for sensitive skin prone to redness. Sun protection helps to reduce skin redness, and your sunscreen must be non-irritating. Mineral zinc oxide products are the best fit for facial skin prone to redness.
4. Finally, all products you use to treat skin problems, such as acne, wrinkles, sun spots or rosacea and seborrhea, need to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating.
Remember, you always get the best results when you use a Complete Skin Care Routine. The 4 essential skin care steps of Dr. Bailey’s Complete Skin Care include,
Since rosacea and seborrhea are often to blame for facial redness, using products that help these conditions will also help tame the redness.
CLEANSE your facial skin with a non-drying product such as Calming Zinc™ Soap fortified with pyrithione zinc to help fight seborrhea and rosacea. The pyrithione zinc is crafted into a natural cleansing bar that is rich in soothing glycerin. Use Calming Zinc once or twice a day. You can alternate it with another of the gentle cleansers listed below. My top choice is my Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser. Facial redness from seborrhea is often accompanied by skin flaking. A gentle exfoliation with Bamboo and Clay Thermal Exfoliating Scrub twice weekly is an efficient way to control facial flaking. This treatment is too much for skin suffering from rosacea, however.
CORRECT facial redness after cleansing by replenishing your skin's antioxidant reserve (that becomes depleted with the inflammation that leads to redness) by using Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy™. This product is the most popular product in my practice and web store to help those suffering from all causes of facial redness, especially rosacea and seborrhea. It contains a high concentration of pharmaceutical grade, stable green tea antioxidants in combination with caffeine and hyaluronic acid. Get both Calming Zinc ™ Soap and Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy ™ in my Redness Relief Kit.
If you also have dehydrated skin, consider applying my Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum™ before applying Green Tea. This will instantly soothe any dehydration and plump wrinkles and crepey skin to a dewy youthful luster.
Other products you use to treat skin problems are usually applied after the Green Tea.
HYDRATE by applying one of the hypoallergenic moisturizers matched for your skin type and product preference. My top choices are one of the Daily Face Creams: either Dry to Normal or Oily to Normal formulation. For those who prefer an entirely natural lotion that can be used from head to toe my top choice is my Natural Face and Body Lotion.
PROTECT with a zinc oxide sunscreen applied daily. My top choices are the Sheer Strength Pure Physical sunscreens. Get both my Daily Face Cream and a Sheer Strength Pure Physical Tinted Sunscreen in my Fort Knox Kit!
Alternatively, if you want an untinted sunscreen consider my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen or my Sheer Strength Pure Physical SPF 50+ Spray Sunscreen
If you wear makeup, use a pure mineral powder.
My pure mineral powder products are the best choice for facial redness because they are hypoallergenic (without fragrance, filler and preservatives that can cause skin allergy) and are non-irritating. They also cover complexion flaws beautifully without flaking.
My Redness Relief Kit is a huge help for people suffering from facial redness,
"I have become a complete believer in your methods, your products, and your integrity. Thank you for offering real help with the facial redness relief kit! My confidence and outlook is so much better than it was. (Your products) have been like miracles to me….” - Patty K., Puget Sound, 12/13
"I would just like to say that I have struggled with terrible skin conditions for the past few years and it was progressively getting worse. Upon finding Dr. Bailey’s website and reading her many blog posts, I realized what I had was a combination of rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis (facial dandruff), which were causing the redness, facial flushing, and clogged pores. I immediately ordered the redness relief kit & my skin just continues to get better! I have since ordered many other products including her new mineral makeup! Thank you Dr. Bailey!" - Angie C, Wichita, Kansas
Why do dermatologists recommend moisturizing face creams and sunscreens for people with facial redness?
It is important to know that facial redness indicates that your skin's barrier integrity is compromised and that you need to care gently for your skin so that it can heal. When not using my Calming Zinc™ Soap, it is best to use only gentle and non-irritating cleansers. You also want to keep your skin hydrated with moisturizers that help lock in moisture. Don't let your skin become dry, irritated and dehydrated because that will slow the healing of your skin barrier integrity.
Why is sunscreen and sun protection so important for people who have facial redness?
Since sun exposure contributes to both redness and worsening of rosacea, non-irritating sunscreens play an important part in your complete skin care routine. Sunscreen products made with mineral zinc oxide are best for complexions prone to facial redness. They are non-irritating and give the broad spectrum UV protection. They are now transparent and a pleasure to use every day.
How to pick the right Dr. Bailey Skin Care products for your Complete Skin Care Routine to treat facial redness.
You will notice a colored band on my each of my product labels.
A BLUE BAND indicates the product is tolerated by most people with sensitive.
AN ORANGE BAND means the product includes some ingredients that may be irritating to sensitive skin. These include powerful actives designed to treat skin problems such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinol, vitamin C, pyrithione zinc or benzoyl peroxide. You need to think about how your skin might tolerate these ingredients. Most people prone to facial redness should avoid these products until their skin has been calm and free from redness for several months. Then, if desired, the product needs to be tried very carefully. The product formulations are technically hypoallergenic by dermatologic criteria, but they can be irritating. Some of these important key active ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and pyrithione zinc, have a very small potential to be allergens for people with very sensitive skin.
A GREEN BAND means the formulation is natural and often made with organic ingredients. Any essential oils that could be allergens are included below the threshold concentration known to taunt skin allergy.
Of course, when it comes to skin allergy and irritation there is no guarantee that your unique complexion will respond as predicted. I try to give you enough information on each product page to make careful decisions for your skin care choices so you can better understand your skin and it’s needs over time.