A Step-by-Step Skincare Routine for Redness That Works

As a beauty advisor, if I had a nickel for every time a client came into Sephora and asked for product help with redness, I would be rich. It’s no fun to deal with redness flare-ups. 

I’m no stranger to the woes of redness as a woman of Irish descent with acne-prone skin. My inflamed skin was embarrassing, but I was among the uninsured and stubborn when it came to seeking a specialist’s help. I’m particularly sympathetic to those with the tendency to redden and still get giddy when I can recommend products that work. 

Facial redness is extremely common and can be due to a host of reasons. Skin conditions like rosacea, acne and dermatitis can cause it. Blushing, exercising and even sun damage may leave a flush to the face. Addressing the underlying cause of chronic redness by contacting a dermatologist is recommended. Nonetheless, I know not everyone can or wants to seek a doctor’s advice.

Don’t lose hope! Whatever the cause of the redness, I know how tempting it is to use makeup to mask it. However, skincare is the best tool in the fight against the flush. There are innovative over-the-counter products in all price ranges to soothe and correct redness. Developing a consistent skincare regimen to treat the redness is essential. 

Start with a gentle and non-drying cleanser 

Designed for all skin-types The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser ($7.90) is light enough for oily skin but moisturizes enough for dry skin types. It is not essential to splash out cash for a cleanser. After all, it does get washed down the drain. This affordable cleanser is formulated to remove makeup and dissolve impurities but is gentle enough for sensitive skin. It is non-comedogenic and free of fragrance, alcohol, oil and silicones. The formula incorporates squalane, making it soothing and moisturizing. 

Next, use a BHA toner to exfoliate

Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner ($34) is certified clean at Sephora and worth every penny. Watermelon extract hydrates while PHA provides gentle exfoliation. It is also packed with antioxidants like cactus water for even better results. Salicylic acid (BHA) has calming properties that can soothe redness. It is anti-inflammatory and can help calm inflamed acne. It will help breakouts by exfoliating dead skin cells in the pore and reducing sebum.

Add a skin-replenishing serum 

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps reduce inflammation and ease redness. It is a well-tolerated acid for all skin types. Like salicylic acid, it also has anti-acne effects by reducing sebum and pore size. Paula’s Choice Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster ($37.40) has a high percentage of niacinamide, making it more potent but still safe for the skin. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90) is best for a budget while still being effective. 

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum ($38) is packed with skin-calming ingredients. When it comes to soothing red skin, nothing helps more than delivering skin-replenishing ingredients. It’s packed with colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, peptides and aloe. Colloidal oatmeal and aloe are particularly calming for distressed skin. 

During the day, add a sunscreen

An SPF of 30 or greater year-round is essential to every skincare routine. Because it is gentle, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are great ingredients for sensitive, redness-prone skin. Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 is a redness color-correcting treatment and UV protector in one. It has the added benefits of niacinamide and centella asiatica complex, which another redness-reducing ingredient. This has a tint, so it’s best used alone. If you prefer to lose the tint, Dr. Jart Every Sun Day Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is a perfect weightless, waterproof SPF that protects sensitive skin. 

Lastly, moisturize (yes, even oily skin types) 

Relieve red skin with a soothing hydrator. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer ($26) is a lightweight daily moisturizer that delivers hydration with colloidal oatmeal, shea butter and avocado oil. In general, First Aid Beauty products are incredible for sensitive skin. The entire line is 15% off at Sephora until the end of the year for students with a student ID. 

You will see a remarkable difference in your sensitive, red skin with a consistent skincare regime of calming ingredients. The products listed above also help control acne, minimize pore-size, combat UV-damage and reveal a clear complexion. It will be nothing short of dramatic when sticking to fragrance, alcohol-free products with ingredients to soothe tender, inflamed skin.