How to Get Rid of Redness on the Face

Four Methods:Fine-Tuning Your Skincare RegimenChanging Your LifestyleTreating RosaceaDealing with Adult Acne

The best technique for getting rid of redness on the face will vary depending on the cause of the redness. General red skin can usually be controlled with cosmetics and cleansers, but other conditions that cause the skin on your face to become irritated may need additional treatment. Follow the method that best fits your type of problem in order to help reduce the redness of your face.

Method 1
Fine-Tuning Your Skincare Regimen

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    Find the offender. A product in your skincare routine may cause an allergic reaction, pimples, or other irritation. Think about the cosmetics, skin care products, and hair products you use. Cut back on all of them and slowly reintroduce them back into your routine one by one. This way, you can determine which might be causing your skin to break out.
    • If redness is associated with swelling of the face, especially lips or tongue, or trouble breathing, seek immediate medical attention. In the United States, call 911.
    • Start with the products you have added most recently, since these are the most likely to have triggered a reaction.
    • You can schedule an appointment with an allergist or dermatologist. Either can do a patch test, during which small amounts of chemicals will be applied to the skin and the treated skin will be monitored for a reaction.
    • You may just have sensitive skin. If so, some brands have sensitive-skin product lines; classic examples include the Aveeno Ultra-Calming and Eucerin Redness Relief lines.
    • After you figure out which chemical is at the root of your redness, cut out any product from your routine that contains that chemical as an active or inactive ingredient.[1]
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    Wash your face 1-2 times a day. Use warm water: both hot and cold water can cause your skin to dry out. If you wash it the wrong way, you can make your skin more irritated and redder. You should wash with a sensitive cleanser, one without fragrance, and avoid any that contain alcohol or other drying agents. Try products such as Cetaphil or Purpose.
    • Pat dry with a soft towel when done. Do not scrub your face, which can cause your skin to become more irritated.[2]
    • Try cleansers with sulfates such as Rosanil. These ingredients will help with inflammation.[3]
    • If your redness involves pimples and you do not have sensitive skin, try products that have benzoyl peroxide such as Clearasil.
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    Use moisturizer. After washing your face, immediately apply a moisturizing facial cream (or lotion) over the skin to lock in moisture.
    • You can also store your lotion in the refrigerator and apply it to your face when cold. Cold products cause the blood vessels in your face to constrict and redness to fade.
    • Avoid buying products with alcohol, witch hazel, peppermint, fragrance, eucalyptus, or clove oil. These are considered skin irritants and will only make your skin more irritated.[4][5]
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    Consider over-the-counter special creams. The most popular is topical cortisone, which has a steroid in the cream to help alleviate redness, soothe skin, and reduce swelling. Find a cream that contains hydrocortisone in a 0.5% or 1% solution. Use it sparingly 1-2 times a day, but only on the affected areas.
    • Do not use these creams for long because overexposure to them can actually cause more irritation.
    • You can also look for more natural calming creams that have ingredients such as licorice, feverfew, tea, turmeric, magnesium, cucumber, or ginger.[6]
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    Consider using aloe vera gel. Aloe vera can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can use the gel from an aloe vera plant or buy it over the counter. Apply the aloe gel to your face twice daily to help decrease the redness.
    • To extract the gel from the aloe vera plant, remove a large leaf of aloe from the bottom of the plant. Cut down the center of the plant, score the insides, and pull the gel out. Then apply that gel to your face twice a day.[7][8]
    • You can find aloe vera gel at most supermarkets or drug stores.
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    Consider dabbing on coconut oil. Coconut oil is a natural emollient, which locks in moisture. Be careful putting oils on acne-prone skin: oil can make acne worse. Coconut oil prevents your skin from losing moisture and becoming dehydrated, which is a common reason for redness. It also has lauric acid in it, which has antiviral, anti fungal, and antimicrobial properties to help revitalize your skin. Each night, rub coconut oil onto your face, paying special attention to problem spots that feel extra rough or that are extremely red.[9]
    • You can also use olive oil, almond oil, or rosehip seed oil. They have similar nutrients to coconut oil and will help hydrate your skin.[10]
    • Coconut oil helps alleviate redness when the redness is caused by dryness.
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    Consider oatmeal masks. Oatmeal is great for soothing many different causes of redness, from sunburn to eczema to simple irritation. Buy pure oats and add water to them. Let the oatmeal soak up the water then apply it as a mask. As often as once each day, leave the mask on your face for at least 30 minutes, then wash it off. [11]
    • You can make it with milk for an added boost. Make sure the milk has some fat in it, such as 2% or whole milk. The fatty proteins in the milk help rejuvenate your skin.[12]

Method 2
Changing Your Lifestyle

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    Hide redness with corrective concealer. Normal concealers do not hide facial redness well, but a corrective concealer relies on the principle of complementary colors to balance out discolored skin. For facial redness, apply a green-tinted concealer. Apply small dots of concealer over the red areas of your face. Blend it in gently using your fingertips or a makeup sponge.
    • If the redness persists over time or is too strong to be covered up by concealer, you may have a condition called rosacea. Contact your dermatologist if you think you may have it.[13]
    • Avoid applying a heavy layer. The concealer may or may not cover up all of the redness on your face. Even if a standard, moderate amount does not hide every ounce of unwanted red, you should avoid using a thick coating of it. The green tint might start showing through if there is too much concealer to blend into your skin.
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    Wear sunscreen. Your skin redness may be due to sun exposure. Apply sunscreen before leaving the house, even when it seems cloudy. Facial and sensitive-skin sunscreens exist at your local drugstore.
    • Sunscreen must be at least SPF 30 to be effective.[14]
    • “Non comedogenic” sunscreen avoids clogging up your pores.
    • You can also buy face makeup or moisturizer that has sunscreen in it.
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    Protect your skin from cold weather. In drier, colder weather, your face can get wind burnt and the particles in the air can strip away healthy layers of skin and damage the surface of your skin.[15] If you protect them, your cheeks and nose will be less rosy once you step back inside a room.
    • When your face is exposed to the cold, the blood vessels constrict, causing your skin to turn white. Once you step into a warmer area, however, all the blood rushes back to your face at once, causing your skin to become bright red.
    • Wear a scarf, hat, or ski-mask made of non-irritating fibers.
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    Drink water and eat hydrating foods. There are some dietary changes you can make to help with the redness from the inside. Hydrating, cooling foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, celery, coconuts, cucumbers, melons, peaches, papayas, spinach, and broccoli contain antioxidants capable of moisturizing your skin from the inside out.
    • If your urine is a pale yellow that is almost clear, you are hydrated enough. If your urine is a concentrated yellow or orange-yellow, you should drink more water.
    • By consuming more of these foods, you can protect your skin from drying out when exposed to cold winter air or other harsh, dry conditions.
    • Avoid spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. These encourage skin redness and will only exacerbate your skin problem.[16]
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    Apply cucumber to skin. Cucumbers have a high water content and many vitamins and minerals that can help hydrate your skin. Peel and slice a chilled cucumber. Lean your head back and place slices over any red areas of your face for 15 to 20 minutes.
    • Within that amount of time, the vitamin C in the cucumber should have reduced any pesky redness.[17]
    • Avoid rubbing cucumber over your skin, however, since the friction can cause further irritation.
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    Apply green tea to skin. Green tea has anti-inflammatory agents and helps constrict blood vessels in your skin, which will help reduce redness and inflammation. Put several tea bags or a few tablespoons of loose leaf tea in a pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes. Once the tea steeps, pour it into a bowl and lay a washcloth in the green tea, soaking it up as the tea cools. When the tea is at room temperature, run the tea soaked cloth over your face.[18]
    • You can also use chamomile and peppermint tea. Avoid using peppermint tea if your skin is sensitive.
    • Make sure you use a cloth you don't mind getting stained. The green tea will have a color and will likely stain whatever cloth you use.
    • Do not rub the cloth over your face vigorously, since that will irritate your skin further.
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    Cover your skin in petroleum jelly. Be careful putting petroleum jelly on acne-prone skin: it can make acne worse. For an extra layer of protection on your skin, you can spread a thin coating of petroleum jelly over your face. The petroleum jelly will prevent your blood vessels from constricting and expanding too quickly, which can reduce or prevent most facial redness.[19]
    • If you are unsure, apply to a small area of your cheek where your redness is not the worst. If your skin is is redder or more irritated in a few hours, do not apply jelly to the rest of your face.
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    Apply a cold compress. Cold temperatures can reduce redness by shrinking the blood vessels in your skin. This method is especially useful if the redness is accompanied by feelings of burning or swelling. For the cold compress, take a clean, soft washcloth and run it under cool water. Gently press it to the irritated area.[20]
    • You can also use an icepack wrapped heavily in towels, if you want to avoid a wet compress.
    • You can also place a wet washcloth in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool it before pressing it to your face.
    • Do not use rough or cold washcloths.

Method 3
Treating Rosacea

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    Stay away from rosacea triggers. Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that comes and goes. It can be hard to predict, but one of the best things for you to do in order to get rid of rosacea related redness before it comes is simply to avoid some of the most common, known triggers of the condition.
    • Common triggers include sun exposure, heat, alcohol, spicy food, hard cheeses, intense emotions, and changes in the weather such as increased humidity and strong winds.
    • Emotional upsets for rosacea include stress, fear, anxiety, and embarrassment.[21]
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    Ask your doctor about oral prescription. Prescription medications reduce skin inflammation and can be prescribed if none of the redness remedies or natural treatments work for you. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, have other medical conditions, or take other medications before starting new medications.
    • Your doctor may prescribe you doxycycline, which is an oral antibiotic known to reduce inflammation. A low dose version of doxycycline, known as Oracea, is given initially in high dosages to jump start the drug in your system but then levels out to maintenance dosage levels.
    • Doxycycline treats not only redness but also the red bumps that are associated with rosacea.
    • There are many other prescription medications as well. Ask your doctor which is best for your specific case. These are prescribed with moderate cases of rosacea instead of mild ones.[22]
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    Use prescription topical treatments. Some patients prefer topical treatments to pill ones. Your doctor may prescribe medicated creams such as sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur, Metrogel (metronidazole), or Finacea (azelaic acid), which have the same capabilities as the oral treatment but are applied topically.[23] Each help treat the red bumps as well as redness associated with rosacea.[24]
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    Ask your dermatologist about laser treatments. This treatment is often used by patients to help relieve redness for longer periods of time than other treatments. This can also help with noticeable blood vessels on the face, neck, and chest. This therapy is used to help visibly improve the skin and brighten the complexion.
    • Laser treatment can cause some discomfort, but topical anesthetics and ice packs can be used to decrease discomfort.
    • This treatment is not a one time only treatment but is given in 3-6 week intervals. It takes a few sessions to get the best effect and is likely not covered by most insurance companies.
    • It is used mostly when a patient has continual redness that has not responded to other, easier treatments.[25]

Method 4
Dealing with Adult Acne

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    Use salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps reduce swelling and redness. It has the added bonus of helping to unclog pores. There are gels, wipes, creams, cleansers, moisturizers, and sprays that contain this drug. Try whichever one you think will best fit into your daily routine. Start with a 2% solution of the acid so your skin doesn't dry out.[26]
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    Apply aspirin topically. The salicylic acid in aspirin constricts the blood vessels and reduces facial inflammation quite well. To make a topical mask, break a tablet of aspirin in half. Mix a few drops of water with the white powder inside the tablet until a paste forms. Apply the paste directly to your acne. Cover with an adhesive bandage for about 30 minutes.
    • If you have a tablet form of aspirin, crush the pill and add water to it until it makes a paste.
    • After 30 minutes pass, the blood vessels should have constricted. The acne and surrounding skin should be notably less red.[27]
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    Get a prescription medication. If you suffer from chronic or severe adult acne, standard skin care products purchased at the store may not be enough to help clear your skin. This is usually when a dermatologist will prescribe a stronger topical cream or ointment to treat your acne with. A doctor can also prescribe oral antibiotics, laser or light treatments, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.
    • A doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing your breakouts. Hormone-regulating medication, such as birth control pills and spironolactone, which was originally a hypertension drug, might be prescribed as well.[28]
    • Usually, topical creams and ointments include ingredients like topical antibiotics, retinoids, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.
    • It is not unusual for prescriptions to include a combination of these treatments.


  • If you smoke cigarettes, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about quitting smoking. Smoking can cause redness of the skin.
  • A skincare professional, such as a member of your dermatologist’s team or an aesthetician can give you good advice on which products (over-the-counter or prescription) may be best for your skin.
  • In the United States, explore which skincare professionals are available to you via insurance before seeking one out to avoid paying out pocket. For example, some insurance programs cover dermatologists but not aestheticians.
  • We are all different so we have different skin issues. If your face is swollen and red keep it away from heat and apply something cold. Relaxing will calm your body down.


  • If redness is associated with swelling of your face, especially of your lips or tongue, or if you have any trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

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Categories: Skin Conditions