From the anti-inflammatory ingredients to reach for to expert tips on how to calm angry skin, read on as we detail how to handle red, blotchy breakouts, irritant dry patches and one-off reactions…
Why Does Skin Become Red?
While some of us are prone to redness due to specific skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and broken capillaries, there are also certain external factors such as a change in temperature, allergic reactions, stress, pollution and of course UV damage, that can affect all us all from time to time. When skin becomes angry, inflamed and red it’s because our immune system is under threat and therefore trying to protect itself. “When skin is upset, it releases inflammation messengers to plump more blood to the surface to help fight off irritants and encourage healing,” explains Susanna Saiu, Technical Manager at Ren.
Are All Skin Types Affected?
Sensitive skin types and those prone to dryness are most likely to notice redness on a day-to-day basis. Redness is also more common at certain times of the year, mainly in the winter when skin is victim to drying wind and sudden temperature change, and in high summer when UV rays are stronger. Those who work or live in the city may also notice redness due to increased levels of air pollution. However, according to a recent study conducted by a reputable skincare brand, it has been estimated that around 85% of woman will experience an episode of sensitivity at some point in their lives.
Ingredients To Look Out For
Look for skincare containing calming anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, oat, rice, milk protein, and algae to help soothe sensitive or irritated skin. Steer clear of anything containing alcohol, which can be overly drying. High percentages of AHAs are also best avoided as can be too harsh and stripping on skin.
Always opt for a milk, oil or balm cleanser over a foaming or gel face wash, as these richer formulas will help to hydrate and comfort skin as opposed to stripping away natural oils, which can weaken the skin’s outermost layer – responsible for keeping water and infection out. While toners are a great way to reduce pore size and remove oil build up, be careful if you have dry skin. Avoid toners containing high percentages of alcohol and salicylic acid, which can be drying, and instead look for hydrating ingredients, such as rose extract and hyaluronic acid. If your skin is oily and you like to include a toner in your regime, oil-free options are best as they allow skin to regulate oil production but still help to reduce shine.
Susanna Saiu suggests washing your face both morning and night to help remove dirt but also the build-up of daily pollution that can cause excess irritation. “Make sure you use warm water, as too hot or too cold can cause your skin to dry out and feel tight or irritated,’ she says.
After cleansing, Susanna reccomends applying a hydrating serum or moisturising face cream all over the skin to help lock in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier. “A weak skin barrier will allow the permeation of unwanted substances and bacteria, which can increase the risk of inflammation,” she explains.
Hydrating omega oils can also be layered in during winter to protect skin from drier, colder weather, which can strip away the healthy layers of skin damaging the skin surface.
The last, non-negotiable, step in your skincare routine should be to follow your moisturiser with an SPF to avoid sun damage.