Facial redness can make you feel self-conscious and socially uncomfortable. And it’s fairly common as many conditions ranging from rosacea, atopic dermatitis, skin irritations, and acne to insect bites and sunburns can give you red irritated skin. But we have some tips on how to handle your skin troubles:
Adopt Healthy Practices
You can take simple measures at home to reduce reddening of your face and handle the conditions that cause it. Here are some tips on what to do if you have:
Too much sun can damage your skin. Your skin may become warm, sore, itchy, and red when you get sunburned. Though sunburned skin usually heals in about a week there are a few things you an do to help it along:
- Sponge down your skin with cold water to cool it. You could also try applying a cool compress.
- Make sure you drink a lot of fluids. This will cool down your body and keep you from getting dehydrated.
- Stay out of the sun. In fact, it’s better to cover up skin that’s been sunburned skin so that it’s not exposed to sunlight through the windows till you heal completely.1
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness of skin and spots and makes small blood vessels visible. In the earliest stage, you may experience frequent flushing in the center (forehead, cheeks, chin, nose) of your face. A burning sensation may also occur along with this flushing. Rosacea can also cause eye problems like inflamed eyelids, and dryness, redness, burning, and itching in your eyes. Though there’s no cure for this condition there are some things that you can do to manage this condition:
- Avoid things that can trigger rosacea. Many factors like heat (including hot baths), strenuous exercise, sunlight, wind, very cold temperatures, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol consumption, menopause, emotional stress, long-term use of topical steroids on the face, and bacteria are known to cause flare-ups. But what triggers rosacea may vary from person to person, so it helps to keep a written record of when the condition flares up in order to identify your triggers and avoid them.
- Use a sunscreen. And though using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is beneficial for all of us it can be particularly helpful if your skin is irritated by the sun.
- Avoid using cosmetics and other products that may irritate your skin. And if you need a moisturizer go in for a mild product.2
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is another chronic skin condition that can redden your skin in addition to making it dry, cracked, and itchy. Here are some tips for you to follow:
- Go for lukewarm baths as hot water can dry your skin out. You might also want to try mild soaps or non-soap cleansers. After your bath gently pat your skin dry and apply a moisturizer to seal in the water your skin absorbed during the bath. Moisturizers can help heal your skin and act as a barrier that stops your skin from becoming dry or irritated.
- As eczema makes your skin itchy you might be tempted to scratch it but scratching can damage your skin which can intensify eczema.
- You can work with your doctor to identify factors that might trigger your eczema and avoid them. Protecting your skin from common triggers like extreme temperatures, rough clothing, irritants, dust, animal dander, and pollen can be helpful. But if you feel that certain foods are triggering your eczema make sure you consult your doctor before cutting them out of your diet to make sure that you don’t leave yourself open to nutritional problems.
- Stress has been known to cause eczema flare ups, so recognizing and managing your stress levels can also be helpful.3 4
Contact dermatitis which can make your skin red, dry, blistered, and cracked is a reaction to your skin coming in contact with n irritant or an allergen. This reaction may be visible within hours of exposure or it may take days to develop. It commonly caused by irritants like detergents and soaps. Here’s what you can do to save your skin:
- If your skin has come in contact with an irritant or allergen wash the affected part with warm water and then apply a moisturizer.
- Use moisturizers frequently. They not only keep your skin hydrated but can also protect it from irritants and allergens.
- Check your skin care products to make sure that they’re not irritating your skin.5
Oil clogged pores that encourage the growth of bacteria can give you unsightly acne. But there are some things that you can do to combat this condition:
- Avoid using oil based cosmetic products that may clog your pores, instead check the label and use non-comedogenic products. And remember to remove all makeup before going to bed.
- Use lukewarm water and a mild soap or soap-free cleanser to wash acne affected areas. Hot and cold water can exacerbate your acne. Also, refrain from washing it more than a couple of times a day as this can irritate your skin.
- Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face so that it doesn’t transfer oil to your face.
- Do not pick at your pimples or squeeze them as this can cause scarring.
- Researchers are looking at whether high-glycemic foods like white bread and cookies which raise your blood sugar increase acne. Though more research is needed in this direction, if you feel that your diet may be worsening your acne speak to your doctor about making dietary adjustments.6 7
Insect bites can cause swollen red bumps on your skin. This usually goes away in a few hours or days though the symptoms may last longer if you have an allergic reaction. Do keep in mind that if you develop a severe allergic reaction which can cause dizziness, breathing troubles, and a swollen mouth or face you need to seek emergency medical treatment. Here are a few tips on dealing with an insect bite:
- Remove the tick or sting if it’s embedded in your skin.
- Clean the affected part with water and soap.
- Use a cold compress on the swollen area for about 10 minutes.
- Remember to avoid scratching as it can increase the risk of infection.8
Aloe vera has been used for skin condition through the ages. It can be used to treat sunburns as polysaccharides and anthraquinones present in it work synergistically to heal skin9 and its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can reduce the skin reddening caused by ultraviolet rays.10 It might also be able to help you if you have acne. One study found that combining a topical retinoid with aloe vera made it much more effective at reducing non-inflammatory and inflammatory pimples in people with acne. It was also observed that this combination resulted in significantly less severe reddening of skin.11
Cooled tea is commonly applied to soothe sunburns. 12 The polyphenolic compounds found in tea have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and so can help repair skin as well as protect against the damaging effects of sunlight. This is particularly useful for people with rosacea as inherent sun sensitivity is a common feature of the disease. Green tea extracts decrease the disruption of the skin barrier too which is also seen in people with rosacea. Moreover, tea can improve symptoms like the appearance of spider veins (a condition known as telangiectasias where small blood vessels become visible).13
The common oatmeal could help you tackle that unsightly reddening of your face. It can help with conditions like rosacea and eczema and even deal with the problems caused by irritants and insect bites. In fact, according to the US Food and Drug Administration colloidal oatmeal “provides temporary skin protection and relieves minor skin irritation and itching due to poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, and insect bites.”14 Oatmeal improves the barrier function of skin too as polysaccharides and proteins present in it bind to skin and form a protective barrier. And that’s not all- it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make it effective against skin conditions like rosacea and eczema.15 So adding some oatmeal to your bath or washing your face with water to which some powdered oats have been added might just be the best thing you could do for your skin.
Calendula (marigold), is well known for its soothing properties and is commonly used topically for various skin problems. The triterpene flavonoids and saponins it contains gives it anti-inflammatory properties which can calm irritated skin.16 In fact, one study found that using a cream containing marigold extracts provided protection against contact dermatitis or skin irritation by the chemical sodium lauryl sulfate which is commonly used in soaps, shampoos, and detergents.17 Essential oils found in calendula flowers can also protect you from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.18
Chamomile too has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Use chamomile tea to soothe itchy rashes, insect bites, and stings. Ointments containing chamomile essential oil can help with eczema and itchy skin too.19
|↑1||Sunburn. National Health Service.|
|↑2||Rosacea. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3||Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis (A type of eczema). National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Atopic eczema – Treatment. National Health Service.|
|↑5||Contact dermatitis. National Health Service.|
|↑6||Acne. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|
|↑7||Acne. National Health Service.|
|↑8||Insect bites and stings. National Health Service.|
|↑9, ↑12||Korać, Radava R., and Kapil M. Khambholja. “Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation.” Pharmacognosy reviews 5, no. 10 (2011): 164.|
|↑10||Reuter, J., A. Jocher, J1 Stump, B. Grossjohann, G. Franke, and C. M. Schempp. “Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of Aloe vera gel (97.5%) in the ultraviolet erythema test.” Skin pharmacology and physiology 21, no. 2 (2008): 106-110.|
|↑11||Hajheydari, Zohreh, Majid Saeedi, Katayoun Morteza-Semnani, and Aida Soltani. “Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial.” Journal of Dermatological Treatment 25, no. 2 (2014): 123-129.|
|↑13, ↑15||Contin, M. S. “Treatment of rosacea with herbal ingredients.”|
|↑14||CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.|
|↑16||Graf, J. “Herbal anti-inflammatory agents for skin disease.” Skin Therapy Lett 5, no. 4 (2000): 3-5.|
|↑17||Fuchs, S. M., S. Schliemann-Willers, T. W. Fischer, and P. Elsner. “Protective effects of different marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) and rosemary cream preparations against sodium-lauryl-sulfate-induced irritant contact dermatitis.” Skin pharmacology and physiology 18, no. 4 (2005): 195-200.|
|↑18||Mishra, A. K., A. Mishra, and P. Chattopadhyay. “Assessment of in vitro sun protection factor of Calendula officinalis L.(asteraceae) essential oil formulation.” Journal of Young Pharmacists 4, no. 1 (2012): 17-21.|
|↑19||Bell, Lissa. The Care and Keeping of Sensitive Skin: A Practical Guide to Holistic Skin Care. iUniverse, 2012.|