Reddened skin on the face is a real common complaint: An estimated 10 million Germans suffer permanently or occasionally from redness of the facial skin. These primarily occur on the cheeks or at the sides of the nose. But there is not always a skin disease behind it.
We clarify the most important factors for the causes and signs and explain which care products help you with redness on the face. And we also have a "no make up" tip for concealing redness.
Sensitive and fair skin: predestined for redness on the face
The cause of the recurring skin redness is primarily a hereditary connective tissue weakness of the skin: it causes the visible congestion of the blood vessels of the skin. This then shows itself directly in the form of redness, mostly on the cheeks, but also on the nose or forehead. The redness is therefore ultimately nothing more than many small visible veins.
In addition to the genetic predisposition, there are numerous unfavorable external factors that can promote or cause the unwanted redness, especially in sensitive skin:
- Heat or cold
- UV radiation
- Fine dust, for example from car exhaust fumes
- Irritants in detergents
- Incorrect or too aggressive care of the facial skin
- Hot spices
- Stress and stressful situations
are all considered triggers for the dreaded skin redness. Even brief physical exertion can immediately result in red spots on the face, as this increases the blood flow to the skin. For most of those affected, such a "flush" (the combination of reddening of the skin and the feeling of heat that may accompany it) is only fleeting and disappears again, i.e. the redness occurs in spurts. If the redness persists, however, this is usually the first stage of rosacea, also called couperosis.
Skin redness: Is couperosis or rosacea behind it?
When people talk about chronic skin redness, they often hear at least one of these two terms: couperose and rosacea (also spelled rosacea). Both are two separate diseases. However, since couperosis can be a precursor to rosacea (not necessarily!), this article is about both conditions.
Couperosis is also called copper fin or copper rose. The French word origin already describes the skin appearance very well: In couperosis, fine veins become visible on the nose, cheeks, décolleté or forehead. The vascular network shimmers through the thin skin and thus gives rise to the characteristic reddish coloration.
Couperosis is sometimes also noticeable in a finer or greater degree on the hands, but is mainly noticeable by redness on the face. The symptoms usually begin in midlife, rarely before the age of 30, and increase with age. The rosy cheeks of a picture-book granny are usually nothing more than common couperosis. The Celtic skin type, i.e. people with reddish hair and fair skin, is particularly susceptible.
In the second stage, rosacea on the face develops papules (nodules) and pustules (pustules) in addition to existing redness, which are then often mistaken for acne. The third stage is reached when inflammatory nodules cover large areas of the face. This is when rhinophyma, a thickening of the skin of the nose, often occurs. Incidentally, this "bulbous nose" occurs much more frequently in men than in women.
In half of the patients, the eye is also affected: The eyes itch, become red and dry. At this stage at the latest, treatment by a doctor (dermatologist) is advisable.
Interestingly, rosacea patients have a particularly high number of Demodex mites on their skin. Although this type of mite can be found on almost everyone and is quite harmless, it appears to be a trigger for the chronic inflammatory manifestations of rosacea.
Redness on the face: these active ingredients help
Avoiding the above mentioned external influences is the number one rule for skin prone to redness. Spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and excessive UV radiation stress the comparatively delicate facial skin and should be avoided as consistently as possible.
It is also important to recognize that emotional stress can often cause or promote redness. For many, this visible sign of stress is the decisive impetus to develop appropriate stress avoidance tactics, such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises or the like.
Since sensitive skin in particular is often affected by redness, strengthening the skin's protective barrier is especially important: here, skin care with active ingredients that reduce inflammation, reduce itching and calm the symptoms overall can help:
Only this resin of the gnarled desert tree contains the so-called boswellic acids, which have pronounced anti-inflammatory properties. These have been researched and proven in numerous studies, so that doctors even compare the effect of boswellic acids with that of cortisone, mind you without the undesirable side effects. Frankincense also has a calming and anti-itching effect. Irritations and redness are usually noticeably reduced by the application.
The extract from the licorice root is rich in glycyrrhizin, a sweetener that is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Its juice is not only the basis for licorice, but has been valued as a medicine for thousands of years. Thanks to its expectorant effect, licorice can still be found in cough medicines.
In a caring cream, the glycyrrhetinic acid contained in the licorice root is particularly interesting. It combines anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties and is therefore recommended as a caring active ingredient for many skin complaints.
Panthenol is also known as dexpanthenol, pantothenol or D-panthenol and is a provitamin, i.e. a vitamin precursor. It is therefore first converted in the body into its actual effective form, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Incidentally, this conversion step is one of the reasons why panthenol is so well tolerated: the skin cells take what they need and convert it into the active vitamin B5 as required. Pantothenic acid is virtually the wound healing plaster among the skin vitamins, because it helps stressed or injured skin in particular to recover.
Niacinamide, also called vitamin B3, is a true multivatimin for beautiful and healthy skin. It is involved in numerous metabolic processes in the various layers of the skin. For example, niacinamide supports the formation of ceramides and cholesterols, two essential components of the epidermis that help it bind water.
In addition, niacinamide promotes the formation of collagen, significantly accelerating skin renewal in depth. All this contributes to a resistant, elastic skin that reacts less quickly with redness.
The care of the facial skin should also not be too rich. If a cream is too greasy, it can hinder the temperature balance and thus promote the undesirable heat accumulation. Light creams are more suitable; in summer, a gel is often sufficient for skin care.
These products will help you with redness
Which agents are taboo for rosacea?
The claim that skin prone to redness cannot tolerate most cosmetic actives is a myth. Every tried and tested cosmetic active ingredient, used correctly and in the right dosage, helps to strengthen skin health. However, since reddened skin is often particularly sensitive, some caution is advised when treating it with these active ingredients:
Retinol is the anti-aging active ingredient best validated by studies and is not without reason referred to as the gold standard for anti-aging active ingredients. Retinol, or its active form retinoic acid, improves skin condition on several fronts: Cells on the skin's surface are renewed, collagen degradation in depth is slowed, and the formation of new collagen fibers is stimulated. Skin prone to redness also benefits from all these factors.
Since retinol, however, requires a period of acclimatization, depending on the form in which it is incorporated into a cosmetic care product, it is advisable to creep it into your own care routine. Gradually increase the frequency of application.
Vitamin C is available in numerous forms (precursors) in care products. However, the active form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is still frequently found in vitamin C care products. This form requires a fairly low pH to still be actively effective. We advise caution here - even if the vitamin C itself is well tolerated, too low a pH value of a care product can unnecessarily stress the skin barrier and thus promote redness in the face.
Further above it is explained which positive properties niacinamide has, and of course this also applies to reddened skin. However, since niacinamide in higher dosages (over 4%) can also have a temporary effect on blood circulation, this active ingredient should be used with caution.
Fruit acids help to remove excess corneal flakes through a mild chemical reaction on the skin surface, thus promoting the formation of fresh, elastic and robust skin cells. We therefore recommend it below as an alternative to mechanical peels. However, caution is advised with rosacea: the dose is crucial. Overly formulated fruit acid peels can weaken the skin barrier and temporarily irritate the skin, promoting skin redness.
When care is not enough: What professional treatment helps?
At the latest when signs of a pronounced couperosis or even rosacea appear, you should consider treatment by a dermatologist or specialist cosmetician. Causes and symptoms of the annoying redness in the face can be specifically treated by special treatment methods and apparative therapies:
Light therapy (IPL)
Light therapy can shrink dilated blood vessels, making them less visible (or even completely disappear)
Once the Demodex mite is identified as the cause of your rosacea, special medications can curb its spread, significantly reducing the chronic inflammation in your facial skin.
How can I support the care of my redness-prone facial skin?
Suitable active ingredients in your skin care are not all you can do against redness on your face. By following a few simple rules of conduct, you can strengthen the health of your skin and protect the worn-out blood vessels:
- Avoid physical peels with rubbing grains. These weaken the skin barrier and stimulate blood circulation in the skin. Sensitive skin is generally not a suitable candidate for scrubs and the like. Mild fruit acid peels are a much gentler alternative. These also smooth the skin's surface, but without presenting the skin with too many challenges.
- Do not rub your face - neither when applying cream or care products in general, nor when drying your face after cleansing. Gently pat your face dry and gently pat skin care products into the skin with the flat of your hand. Do not tap too hard, because this again promotes the supply of blood vessels and thus the redness of the skin.
How to reduce and conceal redness on the face
If the skin is acutely red, makeup is often the only solution. Smaller rednesses or visible veins can be covered very well with special cover sticks or concealers. It is not even necessary to know the exact skin tone for this. Special anti-redness products are often colored green - as a complement to the coloration of the redness. In this way, smaller, localized redness can be wonderfully neutralized in color or at least covered.
Green concealers or CC creams are usually less suitable for treating large areas of facial skin. The risk is too great here that the green color pigments give the lighter areas of the face a sickly look.
A good alternative are color-neutral, mineral powders. They diffuse the light and also reduce redness and unevenness thanks to the optical soft-focus effect. And they do so without any coverage. HighDroxy's PORIFY MINERALS are such an "Instagram filter to apply." The color-neutral formula adapts to any skin tone and is therefore also very popular with men. Because with sparing application, you are guaranteed not to look made up.
Product Tip: PORIFY MINERALS
This color-neutral, loose powder will inspire you: light-diffusing mineral pigments visually distract from redness and irregularities without covering the natural skin tone. Free of talc and therefore also ideally suited for sensitive skin.