10 Skin care products for reducing redness and skin inflammation

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Skin redness and inflammation sucks. When my skin gets really inflamed, I tell people it feels like a sunburn and a bruise combined. And, one of the hardest parts about dealing with skin redness is that a lot of the products designed to reduce it are expensive and simply don’t work.

The Ultimate Guide to Skin Care Products for Reducing Redness and Inflammation - Say Goodbye to Irritated Skin

I’ve been dealing with skin inflammation and redness flare-ups for years, so I’ve tried dozens of products and really narrowed it down to the ones that work.

But looking for the triggers is just as important. I’ve also tried to figure out which products make the redness and inflammation worse. Sometimes, you’ll find out that a really great retinol cream that makes your skin look like glass is causing your inflammation. For me, that’s a toss. There are plenty of great products that work well and don’t leave my skin looking like I ran 10 miles in 110 degree heat with no sunblock.

Before I jump in to the products I’ve been relying on lately to calm down redness when it strikes, I want to share some of the reasons why this can happen.

Reasons for Skin Redness


10 Skin Care Products For Reducing Redness

In order to properly treat redness, first, you need to identify the culprit. To figure out why your skin is looking angry,

“a visit to a dermatologist office is the best first step in addressing the issue and ruling out any hidden causes,”

says Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist in the GH Beauty Lab

That way, you'll know that you’re getting to the root of the issue instead of treating the redness arbitrarily. Here are some common reasons your face might be red:

1. Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that usually affects the face, and is more commonly found in light skinned women. Its cause is unknown, but there are triggers which can be controlled with treatment.

2. Spicy Foods and Alcohol

Intake of spicy food, alcohol, cheese, hot drinks, caffeine and aerobic running too can trigger facial redness.

Alcohol flushing is prevalent among Asians due to the lack of an enzyme. Spicy foods dilate the blood vessels due to their heat generating capability, which increases the flow of blood to the face, making it look red.

3. Contact Dermatitis
Redness due to an allergic reaction caused by the skin’s contact with foreign substances is termed as contact dermatitis. For example, fragrances, poison ivy or soaps and hair dyes can lead to allergic reactions.

4. Eczema
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. This is a rash that can appear all of a sudden and makes the skin extremely dry, itchy and scaly. It usually appears on the feet, but is known to affect facial skin as well.

5. Reaction to Medication
6. Retinol Overuse
The use of retinoid creams makes the skin sensitive to the sun, which in turn causes redness on the face.

7. Over-Exfoliated Skin
If you develop itchy and red skin immediately after exfoliating, which lasts for over 24 hours, it is a sign that you are doing it too frequently. Over exfoliation leads to redness especially when you have dry skin.

8. Shingles
This is a condition where a blister like rash appears on the face and usually elsewhere on the body. It is an infection that starts with a tingling sensation. If the rash appears on the face, immediate treatment is advised.

9. Lupus
The autoimmune disease where the human body’s immune system starts to attack its own body parts is known as lupus. When it attacks the skin, a butterfly shaped rash usually appears on the face and cheeks. It can also cause swelling.

10. Genetic Flushing
This condition occurs after the consumption of alcohol, where flushes or red blotches appear on the face, neck and the also entire body at times. It is quite prevalent among Asians, due to the accumulation of acetaldehyde, caused by the absence of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (helps break down alcohol).

11. Dry Skin and Acne
Acne usually appears on oily skin. It is a result of clogged pores due to excessive oil secretion by the sebaceous glands. A breakout can cause the skin to look red.

Acne can also occur on dry and sensitive skin, when it comes in contact with certain particles. Being out in the sun without applying sunscreen can also cause redness.

12. Hot Weather (Sun Exposure)
Exposure to the sun is one of the most common causes of skin redness. It eventually becomes sun burnt skin. This is due to the damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, where the body sends more blood to the exposed skin to repair the damage.

13. Weather Change
Sometimes, the advent of hot summer or humid conditions usually gives rise to prickly heat, a form of rash that causes redness. Usually, it is found on the torso and back. But at times, it can affect the face too.

14. Inflammatory Skin
Inflammation on your skin can be due to contact with poison ivy, an allergic reaction to a food item or dermatitis. Symptoms include redness on the face and swelling. Some people are even known to have red and inflamed skin due to stress or bacteria.

15. Poor Quality Cosmetics
When it comes to skin creams and colour cosmetics, it is best to play safe and go with trusted brands. The dubious quality of ingredients used in cosmetics that are not prepared in a hygienic and scientific environment can often cause the skin to break out into a rash.

How to reduce face redness


1. Cool Water Bath or Cold Compress
For heat, sunburn or rosacea-related redness, a cool bath helps to bring the rash down. A cool compress can help reduce facial inflammation and give relief to sensitive skin.

2. Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid Peels
Glycolic acid peels remove dead cells from the surface of the skin, brightening the exposed layers. Salicylic acid peels are good for treating redness and blemishes caused by acne. Any chemical peel should be applied by a trained cosmetologist or dermatologist.

3. Sunscreen
For redness due to weather change, using sunscreen with a high SPF helps reduce the rash. Patients on retinoid therapy are advised to avoid excessive sun exposure and take precautionary measures (like use of sunscreens) for sun protection.

4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera in gel or cream form can help reduce redness and itchiness. The components in aloe vera soothe the skin and promote regeneration of new skin, while helping the skin to heal faster.

5. Cucumber Slices
Cucumbers are known for their cooling qualities. So applying cucumber juice or placing cucumber slices on the face and eyes can help to soothe the skin and reduce redness.

6. Choose Fragrance-Free Products
If your skin is sensitive and reacts to strong fragrances, look for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products for your skin. These are specifically made to suit sensitive skin, which is prone to redness on application. Avoid deodorants, skin creams and cosmetics with strong fragrances.

7. Changing Your Lifestyle
If you have genetic flushing, avoiding consumption of alcohol is the best way to beat it. Similarly, if you have oily skin, it demands a change in your diet and reduced consumption of oily, high-fat foods. Wearing sunscreen every time you step outdoors also helps.

8. Medication Related Redness
If your skin is turning red due to any medication, we suggest you see your doctor for that ailment and ask him/her to prescribe a drug you don’t react to.

When To See A Dermatologist?

It is suggested that you visit a dermatologist if the rash persists for more than two weeks; or if you have any kind of pain or itchiness. Conditions like lupus, shingles, dermatitis, rosacea, allergic reactions to medicines etc. require medical attention.

Redness on the face can be due to several reasons. Depending on the duration and severity, you can opt for simple solutions or consult a dermatologist.



These products are my go-to for reducing redness and inflammation. While my skin isn’t your skin, I hope this will give you a list to start with as you begin to find the products that really work for you. If you buy something and it doesn’t help, or makes it worse, stop using it and try to return it. You are your own best advocate.

*Affiliate links are used below, which means at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you make a purchase thr0ugh my links. Thank you!

I’ve been using this for years and just love it. Takes off makeup without stripping the skin, too. Very affordable also. I really love this one, but I also wrote a post with other facial cleansers that I like that are also great for sensitive skin. Check out that post here.

Specifically part of their Rosacea line, this is soothing and helps reduce the blood flow to the skin, which in turn will reduce the redness. They have great deal on their site or you can get it on Amazon.

I’ve used this for years. I put this on over my serum and then it also acts as a great primer for tinted moisturizer or foundation. The cooling water they infuse in their products really does calm and soothe the skin. I love this. You can also get this one on Amazon.

I’ve just started exploring CBD skin care. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Perricone has a whole line for sensitive and inflamed skin. This daily sunscreen skin veil is lighter than air and feels like velvet on the skin. Really well made and soothing. The CBD had a noticeably calming effect on my skin on a particularly inflamed day. It’s an investment, so I save it for when my skin really needs it.

This feels amazing, is super affordable, and has a green tint to color correct during the day. If you’re inflamed, try not to layer makeup on top, unless you know your makeup won’t irritate any more. This has color correct to tone down redness, so you may be able to go without makeup for a few days. It’s also a great primer if you do want to put on a light tinted moisturizer or layer. I’ll write a post soon on the best tinted moisturizers and foundations for sensitive skin.

Masks are a great way to soothe skin, because you saturate the skin in the product and let it sink in for at least 10-15 minutes. Some of these are sleeping masks that you won’t wash off, so you’re getting really active ingredients on the skin for a long period of time.

Another skin care product from Perricone that is so good. I’ve been using this one a lot lately, too, because sometimes inflamed skin also comes with breakouts and blemishes. This one will cool your skin down while also battling breakouts. Soothing clay will also dry them out, without leaving your skin dry.

Here’s a really affordable and comparable mask that will soothe and de-stress skin overnight. Bliss is one of those lines with incredible products that are surprisingly affordable. There was a Bliss day spa near me years ago and it was amazing. Back then, you could only get the products at the spa or high-end shops, but they’ve made them super affordable since then and I am always impressed with them.

This is cold even if you don’t keep it in the beauty fridge and has a soft jelly consistency. It feels absolutely amazing on my skin and I wake up glowing without any irritation. I have been using this weekly lately, because other night serums and masks aren’t great when I’m inflamed, but this one I can still use.




So soothing and cooling. Absolutely love. I wrote a whole post about this line of products bursting with Australian super fruits. They smell delicious and make my skin so hydrated and juicy. At my age, it’s a daily battle to look hydrated and if my skin gets dry, every little fine line starts peeking through. Products like this are an important part of my daily routine. Read all the products I use from this line here.

Start by washing your face and then apply the La Roche Posay serum again. Follow with this super light, cooling night cream.

More affordable than the Watermelon Glow and equally soothing. It’s great for a night cream when you’re inflamed, dealing with blemishes, or doing the summer when you need to lighten up your skin care. So light and sinks right into your skin.


When you’re feeling your skin is redder than normal or just inflamed, here are the products that I have found to be better left unused:

Retinols: This is the main offender for me. When I start to use too much retinol, my skin flares up.
Exfoliators: Gentle exfoliators, such as products listed above that also have AHA in them or something are going to be fine, but a product focusing on exfoliation or a scrub where you can feel the exfoliators is a big no-no.
Devices: This is not the time to scrub your skin with brushes, facial brushes, any type of skin care device that irritates skin, just say no.
Heavy Makeup: Try to stay away from foundation if you can and if you can’t, switch to a really lightweight, breathable tinted moisturizer and spot treat any blemishes that bother you. Let your skin breathe and heal.
Makeup Setting Spray: For the same reason as the heavy makeup, you want to let your skin breathe, not lock it down.
Anything irritating. Listen to you skin. Maybe go back to a really simple routine, let your skin heal, and then re-introduce your regular products one at a time for a few days to find the offender.

I hope these tips and product suggestions give you some new ideas. Living with the lupus rash, rosacea, facial redness or just skin inflammation is so uncomfortable and it can be really embarrassing, too.

I’ll be sharing more tips like this, so stick around and let me know in the comments below if you have particular skin are concerns.