If I could pick the most popular question I get asked by friends as a beauty editor, it would have to be this: “My skin is so red and sensitive right now! What can I do to fix it?”
We’ve all been there. (Hi, retinol!) Whether it’s a sudden facial flush, a dramatic reaction to a new product in your rotation, or something more serious—we’ve tapped board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman to help explain what is exactly is going on with your skin. Below, Dr. Engelman answers the most asked beauty editor question, plus a few more.
What causes skin redness?
“When your skin is sensitive, certain product ingredients can suddenly become a problem and compromise the strength of the skin barrier and its ability to do its job. Symptoms of sensitive skin include: redness, inflammation, irritation, sensitiveness or allergic reactions.”
“Temperature changes, spicy foods, and alcohol can all be triggers for people with rosacea. I have patients that come in with worsened rosacea conditions during the winter and summer.”
Skin can evolve depending on many external and internal factors throughout the aging process. Triggers include: hormonal changes, prescriptions, environmental changes (ie. Moving to a different climate), and lifestyle changes (ie. stress, sleep, exercise).
How can you treat red skin with over the counter products?
“Look for products free of harmful ingredients, such as fragrances, alcohol, phthalates, sulfates, parabens that can irritate sensitive skin. Add ingredients like aloe vera and antioxidants to soothe and fight environmental aggressors.”
How can you treat skin with a dermatologist’s help?
“Prescription topicals can help manage conditions such as rosacea, and lasers (specifically V Beam) can help treat redness by targeting the superficial blood vessels.”
What products should we avoid if we are prone to skin redness?
“Sensitive skin is prone to over exfoliation, so avoid scrubs, AHAs, BHAs. For sensitive areas you can do one of two things: minimize the time the product has contact with your skin or only use ingredients for sensitive skin like oils or probiotics. I recommend the latter.”
What other preventative steps can somebody take to keep their skin protected?
“A good regimen. People with sensitive skin or rosacea should maintain a regimen to help contain the redness.”
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