Facial Redness Treatment
By Cynthia Bailey MD.
Facial redness treatment starts with a skin care routine that supports healing and resists triggering 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 have either seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea - or both! The areas of red facial skin are different in these two conditions.
Seborrheic dermatitis is red and flakey along the sides of the hairline, brows, nose and chin.
Rosacea redness typically involves the 'apples' of the face including the mid forehead, cheeks, chin and nose.
Yes, you can have both - and it's common. The result is complete facial redness with flakey sensitive skin! No matter which of these skin problems you suffer from, treating these conditions with the right skin care routine will improve your facial redness. The good news is that treatment overlaps just like the conditions do.
The other common causes of facial redness include:
- Sun damage, because sun damaged skin is thin, fragile and easily inflamed.
- Eczema from irritation of facial skin due to exposure to harsh climates, skin care products or skin treatments can also cause redness of facial skin.
- Allergic eczema from contact with something you are allergic to such as spray home cleaners, hair care products etc.
- Sun sensitivity due to taking oral medicines can also lead to persistent facial redness.
To learn more about these conditions, click here for my in-depth article on the causes of facial redness. If you are pretty sure that your facial redness is due to seborrhea, rosacea, irritation from your skin care routine, or sun damaged skin, find my skin care tips below.
The bottom line with facial redness is that the skin is sensitive and needs special care.
Why is red facial skin extra sensitive?
Facial redness typically means that the skin's barrier is weakened. This is true with 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, but highly effective, skin care ingredients present in acne treatment products and anti-aging products. - Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey
These include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, vitamin C, niacinamide, azelaic acid, fragrances, harsh preservatives, alcohol and AHAs such as glycolic acid. The harshness of these ingredients doesn't mean that they need to be entirely avoided. What it means is that the other aspects of your skin care routine need to support a healthy skin barrier. If seborrhea or rosacea are present, they also need to be controlled with that routine. Chemical sunscreen active ingredients (but not the mineral UV filters zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) can also irritate redness prone facial skin and should be avoided.
Complexions suffering from facial redness need a skin care routine built from hypoallergenic and non-irritating products to help support a healthy skin barrier that resists facial redness. 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:
- Use a gentle facial cleanser: 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.
- Use a good facial moisturizer: Always support optimal skin hydration by using a moisturizer that is matched to your skin type. This is important because hydrated skin heals faster than dry and stressed skin.
- Daily facial sun protection is important: Sun protection helps to reduce skin redness and control some of the causes. Mineral sunscreens are best for sensitive skin prone to redness and zinc oxide gives the best protection.
- Use hypoallergenic and non-irritating skin care products: All of the products you use to treat your facial skin problems, such as acne, wrinkles, sun spots or rosacea and seborrhea, need to be hypoallergenic and as non-irritating as possible.
Remember, you always get the best results when you use a Complete Skin Care Routine™ built from compatible products that give your skin everything it needs to heal and stay free from facial redness. 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.
If your skin is prone to dryness or extremely sensitive, I recommend that you alternate Calming Zinc with a gentle pH balanced cleanser. My top choice is 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, however, for skin suffering from rosacea.
CORRECT facial redness after cleansing by replenishing your skin's antioxidant reserve (that becomes depleted with the inflammation that leads to redness). The best antioxidant facial skin care product for facial redness is 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.
This amazing product saved my skin. I was at my wits end with my rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis because nothing was helping my red, dry flakey skin...until this! Within days I started to see a decrease in the flakes and within 2 weeks I had happier, healthier, supple looking skin again. THANK YOU, Dr. Bailey, for this miracle product. Tierney
Get both Calming Zinc ™ Soap and Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy ™ in my Redness Relief Kit.
"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
Other products you use to treat skin problems are usually applied after the Green Tea.
HYDRATE skin suffering from facial redness 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.
Get my Daily Face Cream combined with my Redness Relief Kit together in my Facial Flaking and Redness Solution Kit
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 facial skin prone to redness by wearing a hypoallergenic and non-irritating zinc oxide sunscreen every day such as my Sheer Strength Pure Physical sunscreens. My top choices for daily wear are my untinted Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen, my tinted Sheer Strength Pure Physical Matte Tinted SPF 50+, and my moderately water resistant invisible Sheer Strength Pure Physical SPF 50+ Spray Sunscreen that also rubs in perfectly to the skin under facial hair. Reapply sunscreen during the day using my Sheer Strength Pure Mineral SPF 30 Refresh Sunscreen.
Dermatologist's complete skin care routine for facial redness
I've treated thousands of people who struggle with facial redness for over 35 years and I am prone to it myself. I've created the best skin care routine designed for complexions that struggle with facial redness. My Rosacea Therapy Kit combines compatible products to help you control and prevent facial redness from both rosacea and seborrhea.
- Get Calming Zinc Soap to alternate with pH balanced Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser.
- Apply Green Tea Antioxidant Therapy after cleansing.
- Layer my Daily Moisturizing Face Cream.
- Select the right Sheer Strength Sunscreen for your needs.
With this kit, you are set to fight facial redness with dermatologist developed skin care!
What is the best makeup for people suffering from facial redness?
If you wear makeup, I recommend you use simple mineral makeup powders. For example, 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 skin care line for facial redness all started with my Redness Relief Kit
I used the product combo in my practice for years and then launched it on the web in 2008.
My Redness Relief Kit is a huge help for people suffering from facial redness,
"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, Kansa
I then completed the skin care routine with the best compatible moisturizer and sunscreen to take the guess work out of the process since I found that many patients would occasionally end up using products that irritated their fragile skin barrier.
Why do dermatologists recommend moisturizing face creams 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. You 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.