How to get rid of redness on your face: All the causes and cures
A glowing flush on the face is usually credited as the work of a dedicated hand with the blusher, but if you’ve got redness popping up on your skin in irregular patches, it is time to pay attention. The face is generally the focal point of attention, but you’d be surprised at the delay that occurs in detecting recurring facial redness—while some people’s skin easily flushes after any form of exertion, others often peg it as a residual hangover from a recent bout of acne. The ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’ philosophy definitely doesn’t work here, so we’ve put together a handy guide on all the causes, precautions and preventive measures you can opt for if you’ve been noticing redness on your face.
CAUSES OF FACIAL REDNESS
“A distinctive reddish tinge on the face is generally caused as a result of blood rushing to the capillaries under the skin due to inflammation or irritation,” reveals Mumbai-based dermatologist, Dr Madhuri Agarwal. “This is usually indicative of a skin condition called rosacea, wherein people observe butterfly redness on the face when they are exposed to the sun, consume spicy foods or get upset.” Here are the common triggers for those unwelcome red patches on your face:
Sensitive skin is more than just a marketing buzzword for facial cleansers. If you’ve been noticing that your skin looks visibly red or feels inflamed even after using mild products, the outer layer of your epidermis is likely to be reactive to external agents—this means that you’re going to have to keep a razor-sharp eye on what you allow into your skincare regimen.
Invasive skincare regimen
If you’ve been observing persistent redness on your face, it is time to put the finer details of your skincare routine under the scanner. “Harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate commonly found in foaming facial cleansers could be stripping your skin of its natural oils, as well as the parabens found in toners. It is also advisable to avoid beauty products that contain alcohol as an ingredient, and astringent toners can bleed the skin dry too. Be wary of rigorous exfoliating scrubs that can also do more harm than good,” adds Dr Agarwal. Trying to cover up the initial signs of redness with heavy compact or foundation can only further compound the problem.
The bumps from that acne breakout may have finally subsided, but you may not be out of the woods yet. Acne is primarily caused when the face is clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation that can, in turn, cause patches of red spreading around the problem area. “Acne can be another common catalyst, as well as skin that is sensitive and reactive to mild cosmetic products,” she adds. Apart from these catalysts, redness is also caused by certain skin conditions like rosacea, eczema and skin allergies; it is advisable to visit a trusted dermatologist in case of any persistent concerns.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE TO AVOID FACIAL REDNESS
In case you didn’t already have the notion drilled into you by every school teacher you’ve ever had, prevention is definitely better than cure. It only takes a couple of conscious steps to stay ahead of facial redness and keep your skin looking younger for longer.
While the issue may feel confined to your face alone, you should start by taking a closer look at your diet to nourish your skin from within. “Spicy foods are only aiding the inflammation, as are pungent foods or even extremely cold foods, at the other end of the spectrum. Help your skin calm down with water-based fruits like watermelons and papayas that hydrate the skin,” she recommends. Add a couple of cold-pressed juices to your daily diet to further push the toxins out the door.
Likewise, you’ll find certain skincare ingredients that keep your skin nourished for longer, and ward off flakiness and dry cells as well. “Look for products with naturally moisturising agents like almond, coconut or olive oil, as a gentler option to nurture your skin back to health. Also, when shopping, moisturisers with ceramides are a good option as they aid skin repair. Ingredients like rosehip oil, hyaluronic acid and milk, or oil-based creams, should also be on your priority list,” advises Dr Agarwal.
Again, don’t overestimate the power of basics. That cursory swipe of sunscreen before heading outdoors can keep your skin from being directly exposed to the harmful pollutants in the environment. Immoderate exposure to the sun can also lead to peeling of skin cells, which can result in redness. Make friends with the sunblock tube and keep it close. “Opt for a two-pronged approach by applying a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before heading outdoors, as well as a physical barrier in the form of a scarf or a stole over your face, to ward off sun damage for longer,” she adds.
HOW TO TREAT REDNESS ON YOUR FACE
When your skin is feeling irritable and raw, the last thing that you want to do is feed it more chemicals. Allow these all-natural ingredients to rise to your rescue instead.
The MVP of all-natural skincare routines, aloe vera gel is known for healing and soothing inflamed skin. “Don’t dilute its goodness by adding in any other ingredients, and directly apply the gel or the sap from aloe vera on the affected area for 10-15 minutes for a quick fix to redness,” says Dr Agarwal.
At-home skincare routines seem incomplete without the cooling powers of cucumber, making it a must for irritated skin. Dr Agarwal recommends, “For best results, blend a couple of cucumber slices with yoghurt and apply it on your face as a cooling pack for 10-15 minutes.”
“The wonders of oatmeal are many and varied, including the fact that it serves as an effective remedy for itching and dryness. Whip up your own oatmeal mask at home by making a paste [with it] and applying it on your face for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it out,” she says.
Whether you’re sipping on green tea during the day or applying it directly on your skin, you can safely expect relief from bacterial infections and inflammation. Double down on its benefits by first adding it your morning breakfast and later, leaving a couple of green tea bags soaked in water in the refrigerator. When you get back from work, use the chilled green tea as a soak for your face.
Apple cider vinegar is another comrade-in-arms when it comes to combating skin inflammations. Introduce this elixir to your nightly cleansing routine by diluting it with water, and then washing your face with the solution.
“Raw milk is also a soothing agent that helps hydrate the skin with the lactic acid it contains. Dab some on and leave it overnight to wake up to moisturised skin in the morning,” she adds.
Clinical treatments to bring down facial redness
If you’ve been suffering from this issue consistently, ask your dermatologist to recommend a long-term solution. “A 20-35 per cent glycolic peel should help soothe the inflammation, and laser photo facials can also work wonders for reducing the redness. However, it is advised that you avoid invasive treatments like microdermabrasion, skin polishing and aggressive laser procedures as they can compound the problem. Likewise, at your weekly salon visit, steer clear of harsh facial treatments that involve excessive steam or bleaching,” recommends Dr Agarwal.
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