A big concern for those who get frequent blemishes is to find a way to reduce redness from acne. Since acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin, redness from post-breakout scars, as well as irritation from using harsh products and acne prescriptions, is all too common.
In this post, I’ll share five of the best ingredients you should use to reduce redness from acne and give your skin a clearer, calmer look.
Want to know how to stop cysts and blemishes before they start? Read my Five Best Tips for Reducing Acne Cysts and Blemishes article.
These five ingredients will help reduce redness from acne.
What it does: A plant-based antioxidant known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits to calm signs of redness. Green Tea is rich in catechins and proanthocyanidins which are found to be effective against ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species), a damaging free radical. While there are other types of teas like white and red, green tea is the one that is best to reduce redness from acne.
Lichocalchone (Chinese Licorice)
What it does: It disrupts the skin’s biochemical cascade that leads to the skin getting red and uncomfortable. Bright yellow in color, this molecule also lessens what is known as lipase, an anti-lipid enzyme produced by acne bacteria both on the skin’s surface and within the pores. Scientists have linked lipase to the redness and visible inflammation seen in those with moderate and severe acne cases. Lichocalchone provides immediate relief to cool redness while decreasing puffiness and tenderness from painful blemishes. When you use it regularly, the weakened components of the skin from blemishes that lead to chronic redness are strengthened.
Side effects: None.
Recommended product: Rapid Response Detox Masque
Red Marine Algae
What it does: In nature, all types of algae are constantly being exposed to extreme conditions. Over time, these plants have developed defense systems against the elements that can be beneficial when applied to human skin. Unlike plants on land, algae do not have roots. Instead, they absorb all essential minerals and trace elements directly from the seawater into their cells. While there are over 100 types of algae, the one that I find incredibly effective for making the skin look less red from acne is red marine algae. This ingredient has long been considered to have “healing” capabilities for all types of stressed skin conditions due to the abundance of vitamins and minerals. When used regularly, it can also act as an immune system enhancer to help prevent visible breakouts from occurring in the first place. (An ingredient with the word “red” in it that helps the skin look less red, imagine that!?!)
What it does: It’s a keratolytic beta hydroxy acid (BHA) famous for its calming bactericide properties to prevent and clear blemishes. This ingredient is considered to be anti-inflammatory so it’s beneficial for reducing the overall redness in the skin from acne. Additionally, since salicylic acid is an exfoliant, it will break down scarred cells leftover from blemish marks. This will help PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) to go away faster. Salicylic acid is also one of the most effective for the prevention of clogged pores, blackheads and closed comedones (non-infected bumps under the skin.) Anytime you can prevent acne from appearing, you’ll have significantly less redness to deal with. If you want to reduce redness from acne, this ingredient is a must. Just be sure it’s used in gentle formulas so as not to dry out the skin.
Side effects: None, as long as you are using it correctly. Using an acid too often or incorrectly can result in a damaged skin barrier and trigger inflammation. If you are pregnant, most doctors suggest avoiding salicylic acid during pregnancy.
Recommended products: Rapid Response Detox Masque, AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser, BHA Clarifying Serum, Daytime Blemish Gel
Sea Whip Extract
What it does: A soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredient to help reduce all forms of redness in the skin and lower skin sensitivity. This is especially important if you’ve been using topical prescription medications that leave your skin dry and irritated. Produced from an organism found in marine life, sea whip (also known as pseudopterogorgia elisabethae) inhibits the inflammatory enzyme, phospholipase A2 that is responsible for skin irritation. With continued use, discomfort and surface tenderness are brought under control while soothing hydration is infused into the skin to repair the skin’s moisture barrier from harsh products. Simply put, sea whip is very “healing” to reduce redness from acne and make the skin not look so angry.
While there are many other ingredients that do a great job to reduce redness from breakout scars and irritation, these ones are very effective. This is why I have chosen them to use in many of my products.
Read The Five Skin Care Ingredient Myths You Need To Know to get the facts on more skincare ingredients.
Of course, the goal is to prevent breakouts from occurring in the first place so you would never have to deal with redness, but it’s easier said than done. Read five common mistakes that people with acne often make. Also, if you’ve been using overly strong acne products, your skin’s moisture barrier might be damaged and you need to fix it. Lastly, if you have stubborn scars leftover from blemishes, here are more tips for fading them.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”