Common Causes of Redness and Irritation (and How to Fix It ASAP)

One of the most frustrating skin issues many people face is redness and irritation. These things may be more common for those with sensitive skin, but it can affect anyone. If you don’t have issues like psoriasis and eczema, but still encounter ruddy, uncomfortable skin every once in a while, you might be involuntarily sensitising your skin. Fortunately, while there are many causes, there are also many solutions.

Cause: Excess Sun Exposure

Too much sun can irritate skin, especially if you don’t use adequate protection. Not only will you get a sunburn if you don’t apply sunscreen and reapply every two hours, but you will also cause damage on a deeper level. With severe sunburns, skin can even blister. The redness caused by a sunburn can last several days until skin starts to peel. You might also experience pain and mild itching. Needless to say, redness and irritation from excess sun exposure can be extremely uncomfortable and frustrating to deal with.

Solution: Cool baths and showers can help alleviate the pain and itching caused by a sunburn. To soothe irritation, pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into a bath. Oatmeal can also be helpful in soothing irritation and helping skin retain more moisture. Aloe vera is the traditional remedy for redness and irritation caused by excess sun exposure. It’s best to get the gel directly from the plant, but you can also purchase aloe creams and apply them directly onto the reddened area.

Don’t forget to use an all-mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally and frequently—whether you’re recovering or you want to avoid a sunburn in the future. Image Skincare’s PREVENTION+ Daily Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30 will not only shield your skin from UVA/UVB rays but provide hydration as well. Prevention is key!

Cause: Over-Exfoliating/Harsh Ingredients

Sometimes, we can’t help but over-treat our skin. It can seem like a good idea: You want a certain skin problem to go away ASAP, so you slather on a lot of harsh ingredients or you scrub too much. For example, if you have frequent breakouts, you may use benzoyl peroxide while also exfoliating in order to diminish their appearance. Unfortunately, these are powerful ingredients even when used solo, and together they can be quite potent, sensitising skin and causing a lot of irritation. Over-exfoliating is another bad habit. It can be tempting to use both physical and chemical scrubs every day in order to treat breakouts or other skin issues like uneven tone. But there is such a thing as going overboard. If you exfoliate daily or even more often, you can also sensitise skin, leading to significant irritation and redness.

Solution: The first step is to stop using harsh ingredients and minimising your exfoliation habits. You can cut back on using several harsh ingredients at once and also cut back on exfoliating daily. It’s typically best to exfoliate two to three times a week, or even less often if your skin is very sensitive. If you’re experiencing a lot of redness and irritation, you might want to stop exfoliating for a while altogether.

Secondly, you will want to calm your irritated skin with some soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal.[1] It will help to minimise redness and provide a soothing effect. A honey mask can also be helpful for soothing irritation and inflammation.[2] Image Skincare’s ORMEDIC Balancing Facial Cleanser can be used daily to cleanse and help restore moisture so you don’t have to completely avoid your daily skincare regimen. This cleanser will go a long way in restoring softness and balance thanks to organic aloe vera and other soothing botanical extracts.

Cause: Dehydration/Dryness

Dryness can occur year-round, but is especially common during the winter months when we’re exposed to artificial heat in the form of heaters. When skin is dry, it tends to be more prone to irritation. It can also be naturally itchy and uncomfortable because it lacks moisture.

Solution: Moisturise regularly with a powerful cream, particularly after you shower. While your skin is still damp, applying a good moisturiser will help seal in the moisture that is on your skin from your shower. This will allow the moisturiser to work even more effectively. Look for ingredients like glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, alpha hydroxy acids, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamins E and C and green tea extract. These are humectants, emollients and antioxidants that work together to thoroughly moisturise for long-lasting hydration.

Image Skincare’s VITAL C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum is a lifesaver. It includes a potent dose of vitamin C to minimise the appearance of wrinkles (dry skin tends to be wrinklier than oily or combination skin because it lacks moisture). This serum also includes hyaluronic acid, green tea extract and algae extract in addition to a polypeptide complex that delivers hydration to skin while protecting against the visible signs of ageing.

The ORMEDIC Balancing Bio-Peptide Cream is another great choice for dehydrated, thirsty skin. It will quench dryness with hyaluronic acid, botanical butters and organic plant oils. Jojoba oil, glycerin, aloe vera and green tea extract among other botanicals team up to absorb quickly into skin to soothe and revitalise.

Cause: Too Many Active Ingredients

A 10-step skincare routine may be trendy, but it might not necessarily work for you. Using a variety of different serums while also targeting certain issues like breakouts with acids can sensitise skin dramatically. Even though you think you are treating your skin right, too much of a good thing is definitely a potential problem.

Solution: Besides paring down your skincare regimen, you can take stock of the ingredients you’re using most often. Are there a lot of acids to treat wrinkles and/or breakouts? You might want to swap those out at least temporarily with more soothing ingredients like niacinamide, allantoin, chamomile, aloe and cucumber.

After a period of time you can reintroduce the products you typically were using before the irritation and redness appeared. Introduce them one by one and take your time to determine which products were particularly harsh and which ones you might want to avoid in the future. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid makeup for a while, if you can. Makeup can have irritating ingredients, particularly fragrances and oils, which not everybody can tolerate. Finally, if you sense there’s another issue for your red skin, you might want to contact a professional to help diagnose the problem, especially if using more soothing and calming ingredients doesn’t help.

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[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607907

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/

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