For those with normal skin types, minor irritation caused by external factors such as harsh weather tends to be fleeting—it may last a day or two and then clear up. But for those with more reactive skin, irritation can be long-lasting and accompanied by frustrating symptoms, such as sensitivity and redness. While sensitivity certainly has its challenges, skin redness can be particularly frustrating to manage, especially if you’re not sure of the cause.
Fortunately, redness is a relatively common skin concern. Over more than 170 years, we’ve developed several powerful products containing proven natural and science-backed ingredients that can help manage irritation and calm the appearance of red, sensitive skin. Ahead, we’ll discuss several common causes of red skin and teach you how to reduce skin redness with gentle Kiehl’s products.
What Is Skin Redness?
Skin redness, also known as erythema, is any reddening of the skin. It can be temporary (as with redness due to sunburn) or persistent, meaning it doesn’t go away. Facial redness is often the result of some type of irritation. As such, those with sensitive skin types may be more prone to developing chronic skin redness.
What Causes Skin Redness?
In order to visibly reduce skin redness, it’s crucial to understand what’s irritating the skin in the first place. However, pinpointing the cause can be tricky. Countless stressors can instigate or worsen skin redness, and some are easier to address than others.
Temporary redness may result from external stressors, such as exposure to harsh weather or irritating skincare ingredients. In these cases, time away from the stressor will typically resolve the issue.
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil
On the other hand, persistent facial redness may be connected to the health of your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Studies suggest impaired skin barrier function and the resulting irritation are often related to long-term facial redness.I You can help manage this kind of redness by avoiding stressors (such as UV radiation) and using products designed to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier. One option we love is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil. This effective formula, which features hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil and green oregano oil, helps strengthen the skin’s barrier, so it can better protect itself. It also helps visibly reduce skin redness and calms the feeling of stressed skin. And while it’s an oil, the lightweight formula is non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types.
How To Reduce Redness On Your Face
The most critical factor in treating skin redness is eliminating the cause. If your irritation results from harsh weather or drying skincare ingredients, for example, you’ll want to avoid those triggers. But if you can’t determine an obvious cause for your redness, it may be that your skin barrier isn’t working as it should. This may require updating your skincare routine. You can also use anti-redness creams and moisturizers to visibly minimize blotchy, red skin and restore your skin’s healthy appearance. Discover some of our favorite skincare for redness below, plus tips for keeping your skin feeling soothed.
Use a Mild Facial Cleanser
Every day, we come into contact with a host of external stressors, such as air pollution. Over time, these stressors can accumulate, damage the skin, and contribute to various skin concerns (including redness). However, washing your face can help remove these potentially-irritating impurities from your skin’s surface, making it a necessary first step if you’re looking to keep your skin looking its best.
That being said, you want to make sure you use the right cleanser for your skin, as anything too harsh could potentially exacerbate redness. For a daily cleanser that leaves your skin feeling soft and conditioned, we recommend Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser. Formulated with cucumber extract and glycerin, the gentle formula helps melt away dirt and other impurities without drying out the skin. It’s suitable for all skin types but especially beneficial for those with drier, more sensitive skin.
Reach For a Skin-Soothing Toner
If your redness is accompanied by discomfort, we recommend soothing your skin with a calming facial toner after your morning and evening cleanse. Try Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner (a Kiehl’s favorite for more than 60 years). The calendula-infused formula provides a gentle, soothing cleanse and is clinically-demonstrated* to help visibly diminish redness, blemishes, and excess shine.\ It also helps improve skin’s texture with consistent use—just splash it on with your hands (or swipe it onto your skin with a clean cotton round) after cleansing for a fresh, balanced feel.
Results based on expert grading in a four week clinical study on 62 subjects
Protect Your Skin’s Natural Moisture Barrier
As we mentioned above, skin redness is often linked to a dehydrated or poorly functioning skin barrier. As such, repairing the skin barrier can help strengthen and protect your skin from the damaging effects of internal and external stressors.
If you have sensitive or reactive skin, we recommend incorporating Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum into your daily routine. It’s made with 11kDa hyaluronic acid (a small form of hyaluronic acid capable of penetrating skin’s deeper layers) as well as a blend of adaptogenic herbs. It’s clinically-demonstrated to double skin’s strength and also helps improve ## skin texture over time.*
*Based on a four-week clinical study on 58 subjects tested in urban and polluted environments. Skin strength index = Composite average score of clinically-graded parameters after using the product for four weeks vs. one ## week of use.
Don’t Skimp On The Moisturizer
No matter your skin type, moisturizing is essential to keep the skin barrier functioning at its very best. For mild redness, we recommend moisturizing with our top-rated Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream. This hydrating formula contains calendula extract derived from the marigold flower, along with hydrating glycerin and vitamin E. The lightweight gel moisturizer provides up to 24 hours of hydration while helping to even skin tone and boost radiance. With regular use, it also helps visibly diminish skin redness for fresher, more radiant-looking skin.
*With regular use, it visibly reduces redness and minimizes the appearance of dry fine lines. This soothing moisturizer also absorbs easily and provides intense hydration for up to 48 hours.
*Based on an instrumental test of the skin barrier and clinical grading in an 8-week study. Tested for tolerance on subjects with self-perceived ## sensitive skin.
Try a Calming Face Mask
One of our favorite ways to quickly soothe red skin is with a face mask—specifically, Calendula Petal-Infused Calming Mask. Made with calendula extract and aloe vera, this lightweight gel face mask instantly cools the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated and refreshed. It also helps revitalize the skin to reveal a healthier appearance over time. We suggest using this mask around three times per week, or whenever your skin feels like it could use an extra dose of soothing hydration.
Wear Sunscreen Every Day
Even if your redness isn’t caused by sun exposure, UV radiation can weaken the skin barrier and make you more susceptible to irritation. To keep your skin looking and feeling its best, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (30 if you have fair skin) every day. We like Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+. The antioxidant-infused formula helps protect against UVA and UVB rays, as well as environmental aggressors and free radicals. Apply it to exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outside and follow other sun protection measures (like avoiding direct sunlight) for lasting sun protection.
I. Nisbet, S J et al. “Clinical and in vitro evaluation of new anti-redness cosmetic products in subjects with winter xerosis and sensitive skin.” International journal of cosmetic science vol. 41,6 (2019): 534-547.