Redness is a common complexion concern. For many, this daily battle with flushing and irritation can be extremely frustrating; not to mention take a toll on self confidence. Common triggers include stress, beauty products, genetics, weather, diet and lifestyle factors. Tailoring therapies is an important part of treating symptoms.
This guide takes a holistic approach to correcting redness, by addressing both the topical and internal underlying issues. The beauty of this regimen is that it won’t take long for you to reap the rewards. You can expect clearer, more even skin with less incidence of flushing and irritation in as little as two weeks.
Stage 1: Week 1 - 3
When it comes to topical treatments, the first goal is to reduce irritation, soothe inflammation and protect against environmental aggressors using a gentle skincare regime with minimal products.
- Reduce irritation: Often harsh formulas can cause irritation. Changing your face wash is the first step in calming a red, angry complexion. A mild milky cleanser that’s "non-foaming" is essential, as it ensures that the skin is not stripped of its "acid-mantle," which acts as a barrier, protecting it from microbes and toxins that can trigger redness. Our No.1 Belle Frais Cleansing Milk is a gentle coconut oil-based emulsion containing soothing natural extracts such as cucumber, wattleseed and zizyphus.
- Soothe inflammation: Soothing botanicals are your skin’s new BFF. If fine lines are not a major concern, use our & Soothe Me Balm. This aloe vera-based gel features a dream team of calming chamomile and cucumber, redness reducing niacinamide (vitamin B3), antimicrobial calendula, and reparative gotu kola. If fine lines are more of an issue, try our No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum. Antioxidant-rich kakadu plum does triple duty soothing, healing and strengthening skin, while hyaluronic acid lends its hydrating and plumping properties. It also contains gallic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, which helps to quell redness and irritation.
- Protect: Using a nourishing moisturiser with soothing botanicals, both morning and night, works to boost barrier function, providing protection against potential sources of external irritation. & Snowflower Illuminating Face Oil has an abundance of anti-inflammatory constituents to calm redness and restore the skin’s integrity. Jojoba oil mimics wax esters naturally found in sebum, so it’s deeply nourishing. It also contains vitamin A, which is important for cellular regeneration, and myristic acid, show to reduce inflammation, swelling and redness. If skin is prone to oiliness, it’s best to use a lightweight lotion such as our No.4 Vanilla Silk Hydrating Lotion, which has soothing marshmallow and healing Vitamin E.
Stage 2: Week 4+
Now that obvious signs of redness are under control, the aim is to reduce irritation permanently by strengthening the skin barrier to improve resilience and address the predisposition to redness and flushing.
- Repair: Our & Coco Bliss Intensive Repair is a nourishing night cream that utilizes niacinamide (vitamin B3) to stabilises the epidermis and promotes protein synthesis, while vitamin E enhances cellular repair and cocoa butter protects against environmental damage.
- Control redness: To further reduce redness and boost barrier function while you snooze, slather on an overnight mask like our & Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse. Healing pink clay, which works to purify, renew and improve elasticity, gets an assist from soothing aloe vera and anti-inflammatory snowflower seed oil.
- Strengthen skin barrier: The outermost layer of your skin plays a crucial protective function, serving as a barrier to external aggressors (irritants, microorganisms, UV rays, etc) that can trigger redness. Powered by antioxidant-rich edelweiss, kakadu plum and white tea, our No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum enhances natural DNA protective actions, guarding against sun and free radical damage, while helping to reduce hypersensitivity.
Ingredients to Avoid
Sadly, in many cases, the products we use to combat our skin concerns can be the very cause of them. These are the topical ingredients sensitive and redness-prone complexions should avoid:
- Synthetic fragrances: Synthetic fragrances are a major source of irritation for most skin types and are shown to trigger redness and inflammation.
- Sodium laureth sulfate: Sodium laureth sulfate (commonly added to face wash to make it foam) is what gives skin that squeaky clean feeling. The issue is that it strips skin of its natural oils, making it extra sensitive and susceptible to redness and irritation.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is an active ingredient in cleansers, makeup removing wipes, acne treatments and more. The problem is that it breaks down the skin's natural protective barrier, leading to dryness and redness.
- Preservatives: The types of preservatives found in most beauty formulas, including parabens, ethylhexanol and even those claiming to be natural, are among the most common irritants. Instead, we use sodium anisate (derived from aniseed) and sodium levulinate (a cellulose starch) to keep our product stable.
- Elimination diet: Avoid citrus, cheese, nightshades, alcohol, chocolate, yeast and vinegar. These foods can cause histamine reaction, leading to dilated blood vessels, redness and irritation.
- Increase fatty acids: According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may prevent skin reddening and scaling. Aim to have 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil and 1 tablespoon of evening primrose oil daily. Adding avocado, walnuts and nuts and seeds to your diet is also a good idea.
- Reduce stress: Stress and the production of cortisol are linked to inflammation in the body, which can reduce good gut bacteria and increase digestive issues. It can also lead to a rush of blood to the peripheries, resulting in redness and skin flare-ups. Meditation, yoga, adequate sleep and herbal supplements are great ways to control stress.
- Cut out refined sugar and dairy: Sugar causes insulin levels to spike. It’s also linked to inflammation and oxidative stress. Eliminating conventional dairy products is shown to be helpful for those suffering from skin redness.
- Avoid spicy foods: Spicy foods promote heat in the body, leading to flushing and redness.
- Heal your gut: Skin woes are often a sign that the immune system is in overdrive and that the gut is inflamed or leaky. To heal stomach lining, start with antimicrobial herbs like goldenseal, calendula and oregano. Introduce a high strength probiotic and use supplements such as NAC, glutamine and turmeric.
- Try herbal remedies: If you have access to a qualified naturopath, herbal remedies can often effectively alleviate redness and rosacea, alongside some dietary changes. Some of our favorite anti-inflammatory, healing herbs include calendula, licorice, burdock, echinacea, ginkgo, turmeric, rhodiola, withania and ginseng.
- Increase vitamin D: The active form of vitamin D is a natural regulator of the antimicrobial peptide in your skin called cathelicidin. Have your vitamin D levels checked. Abnormal levels are related to slow wound healing and skin diseases such as rosacea and atopic dermatitis.