Why Your Skin Is Red & What To Do About It

Why Your Skin Is Red & What To Do About It

  1. Broken Skin Barrier 
  2. Rosacea
  3. Wind Burn
  4. Sunburn
  5. Allergic Reaction
  6. Medication
  7. Broken Capillaries  


1. Broken Skin Barrier 

One of the biggest causes of redness I have seen as an esthetician? Broken skin barriers.

Modern living, the rise of beauty on YouTube, and the overuse of skincare products can really strip your skin barrier. Think of your skin barrier as the brick and mortar that build your house and keep the skin protected.

To reduce redness overall, you must respect your barrier.

Use the right cleansers, don’t over-cleanse, don’t over-exfoliate (most people overdo it BIG TIME with exfoliation), and don’t use water that’s too hot when washing your face.

Always, always keep your skin moisturized and protected. Your skin needs hydration and lipids (oils) to feel happy, so give your skin all it needs to work its best. And if you feel dry mid-day, reapply! The key to a healthy barrier is to keep your skin moisturized!

Our skin will work hard for us if we get out of its way.

Read more about our skin barrier here…


2. Rosacea
Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory disorder, of which its causes are unknown, and there is no “cure”.

Fair skin tones are the ones most predisposed for rosacea, which usually shows up in the late 20s or early 30s--and it will get worse if left untreated.

Rosacea is a flushing of the skin, and Stage 2 rosacea can sometimes be mistaken for acne. This is why it's never a good idea to self-diagnose. If you think you have acne, it’s best to see a derm and get a proper diagnosis. You could have rosacea and not even know it.

As far as treating rosacea, never treat it like acne, or you’re going to make the condition worse. Rosacea can only be managed, never cured.

Management of rosacea includes diet, such as cutting back or eliminating alcohol and caffeine as well as hot, spicy foods.

There are also topical medications you can get from your dermatologist, like Metronidazole, which are effective. There are some other new topicals that provide positive results as well.

There are also some amazing laser treatments that can really help with the redness . Seek out a cosmetic surgeon in your area for laser treatments. They’re painless and easy. They run anywhere between $350-$500 each, and you’ll usually need a few treatments. But it's the most effective treatment and will give you better results than skincare alone.

Read my Blog Post here on how I got my rosacea under control.



3. Wind Burn
Wind burn is one reason you can get red, especially in dry climates. If you live in a climate that is cold and dry (or even hot and dry), be sure you’re always wearing a barrier on the skin to prevent chapping and wind burn.

If you get a wind burn, keep the skin moist and don’t use hot water, as hot water will further dry it out.

Tip: I love and use Water Elixir, Water Oil, and Water Balm before I go outside. If I am walking my dogs in the cold Chicago winter, I layer it on again before I take a walk. Then I apply sunscreen.

If it’s a polar vortex, wear a type of mask on the face to prevent the wind from hitting the skin.

4. Sunburn

It’s 2022, and why we’re still talking about sunburn is beyond me…but sometimes it happens.


The key to avoiding sunburn is to reapply sunscreen religiously throughout the day (I know, I know, it’s a pain in the ass!). But sunburned skin is injured skin. Did you know that people can be hospitalized from a bad sunburn? Yikes! 


To treat sunburn, it’s important to treat it delicately. Cool, wet dressings are best. Keep the area moist. How you treat sunburn depends on the severity. If you’re in pain, take a pain reliever like Tylenol.

And don’t peel the skin too early, as tempting as that may be. 



5. Allergic Reaction

Sometimes we can have an allergic reaction to something even if we’ve used it for years. Allergic reactions in the skin can make it red, irritated, and even itchy.

Allergic reactions to certain things show up in a few hours to a few days.

If you’re having chronic problems with products, you could have a broken skin barrier or an allergy.

Note: There is a difference between an IRRITANT and an ALLERGY.

An irritant is something that irritates your skin. An allergy is only when you’ve been officially diagnosed.

The best advice I can give you is to start a Skin Journal and write down everything you do to your skin. Then start to spot patterns.

Another option is to have an allergy test done if it’s severe. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re allergic to.

Keep in mind that things can still irritate your skin, but you’re not “officially” allergic to it.


6. Medication

Sometimes medication and vitamins can cause redness and flushing. Niacin is one of those vitamins.

If you started a new vitamin or medication, read the side effects and see if it could be the cause. Then talk to your doctor about it. (Don’t try to self-diagnose on the internet, please!)


7. Broken Capillaries

The tiny vessels in our face can cause our skin to look red. As we age, it's normal for them to become more prominent.

How to treat it: Believe it or not, lasers are really effective in treating broken capillaries. I am a huge fan. Here is a before and after from one laser treatment. Just the one treatment removed a lot of redness in my nose, with virtually no downtime. My laser gal used a combination of “gentle lase” and “gentle yag” for these photo facial results. 


Redness isn’t something you have to live with. There are many treatments and options these days, from great skin care to advanced cosmetic procedures. I am a fan of all of it.

Where did you fall in this category? Leave me a comment below!

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