What to do When Your Skin is Red
Written by Marcia Kilgore
9 Jul 2020
Read this, if you’re battling redness or rosacea.
It may be that you’re someone whose skin is naturally prone to flushing. The kind of skin that’s apt to get a little ‘high colour’ when it’s very hot, or cold, or you’ve done a particularly intense workout. But more often than not, when redness strikes, it’s a sign that somewhere along the line, there’s irritation happening within your skin.
So why does dry or dehydrated skin often become red? Very often, it’s to do with how well your skin’s barrier is working. There are multiple reasons why your skin’s barrier can become impaired: stress, lack of sleep, environmental damage and over-exfoliating your skin are some of the main ones1.
How might you be able to tell if your skin barrier isn’t working as it should? As well as redness, other signs of irritation might be extreme dryness, itchiness and dull-looking skin, and a feeling of tightness and discomfort. And of course - redness.
If the skin barrier - or acid mantle - is not kept ‘oily enough' (we will not get into the ratios of Ceramides, Cholesterol, Fatty Acids and Sphingolipids needed for optimal barrier repair, but will say we've ticked this box in our dry skin moisture formulas), extra blood will rush to the skin's surface (and vessels may dilate) to fight off irritants and encourage skin and barrier healing. Result: visible redness to your complexion.
If the skin barrier is not kept ‘oily enough' extra blood will rush to the skin's surface and visible redness to your complexion.
So the first port of call if your skin is chronically redder than you’d like?1 Healing moisture formulas and hydrating serums and spritzes. Followed by hydration sealing creams and balms.
You might also want to consider ‘reviewing’ your skincare routine four times a year, at the change of the season, to ‘check in’ with your skin and see if it might benefit with some more comforting textures, say, in the cold weather, and lighter, more refreshing ones in the summer.
A Word About Dry Skin
You might already know this, but there’s a difference between dry and dehydrated skin, just like there’s a difference between oil and water. Dry skin stems from underproductive oil glands and is mainly dependent on genetics. It can easily be balanced with regular surface applications of moisturising facial Oils, Ceramides, Fatty Acids and Phospholipids.
There's a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, stems from a lack of water, caused by anything from swimming to sunburn, arid environments, dehydrating bad habits (like long, hot showers and drinking too much coffee) and simply not getting enough H2O every day. The best way to boost your hydration levels? Spritzes and humectant serums with Hyaluronic Acids, AHAs (will explain below), Polysaccharides, Seaweed extracts, hydration binders like Betaine and Trehalose, Pombe Yeast extracts and the old tried-and-true Aloe Vera juice.
If your skin is red, what can you use to relieve this?
Ceramides are the ‘glue’ that holds our skin cells together, and makes up around 50% of the skin’s barrier - so products that both replenish ceramides and encourage skin’s own ceramide production are a good idea for anyone prone to redness or sensitivity.
Anti-inflammatories are ingredients that work to counteract inflammation in the skin. And in fact, many skin experts now believe that as well as being a cause of skin sensitivity, inflammation can also be a key factor in skin aging (it’s often now referred to as ‘inflammaging’).
We’re still learning about the skin’s microbiome - but what we do know is that a healthy microbiome will encourage healthy skin. Probiotics and other ingredients that encourage skin’s microflora and fauna to thrive are thought to be a good, gentle way to soothe skin irritation.
Centella Asiatica (CICA)
Centella Asiatica - or CICA as it’s often referred to in skincare - is a powerful skin calming agent from triterpenoids to soothe red and irritated skin.
Of course, acute or sudden redness may be caused by allergies or other inflammatory conditions, and if you notice this, please see a doctor!