We all know the feeling of attraction. Our pupils grow larger. Our pulse starts racing. Our palms get sweaty. But for some of us, our faces turn bright red, hot and bothered — not exactly helpful in the romance department. Why does this happen? Is it a sign of something more serious? Is there any way to treat it?
According to the skin health experts at Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute, there are multiple reasons the skin can turn red. Most are related to genetics or the environment. But for people who have fair, sensitive, sensitized or highly-reactive skin, or rosacea, redness can be a constant distraction. While there is no cure, redness may be helped with the following lifestyle or product changes:
1. Drop that bar of soap!
Opt for a soothing, creamy non-soap cleanser, such as UltraCalming Cleanser, which will be less irritating to the skin.
2. Throw out the bathwater
Extremely sensitized skin can be too sensitive for water, especially hot water. Avoid excessive showering or bathing, and ask your skin care professional about cleansers formulated for removal with cool, damp cotton.
3. Get physical — sunscreen, that is
Daily sun exposure can irritate the skin, but so can chemical SPFs. Opt for a physical sunscreen, such as Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, of SPF15 or higher. Even better, use one that has skin-soothing ingredients like Green Tea or Licorice. (Try Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF30.)
4. Ditch the irritants
Using or mixing too many products that contain known irritants, such as artificial fragrances, colors and lanolin, can worsen sensitivity, flushing and irritation. Also, avoid cleansing with abrasive tools such as scrubs or loofahs.
5. Turn down the heat
Avoid foods known to stimulate blood flow, such as alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, red wine, tomatoes and dairy. They could be triggering those flare-ups.
6. Go green
Using a moisturizer with a green natural mineral tint (not an artificial color), alone or underneath makeup can help counteract redness.
(Try Redness Relief SPF20.)
7. Put down that cigarette
Smoking is somewhat like suffocating the skin from the inside; it inhibits the body’s ability to provide oxygen and nutrients to skin while restricting blood vessels. This can leave skin more susceptible to sensitivity.
Techniques such as deep breathing or smiling may help decrease redness, particularly when it's triggered by nervous reactions such as embarrassment. Also, keep in mind, blushing is nothing to be embarrassed about. To many, it signals youth, health and vitality, which is why people have tried to recreate it with makeup, crushed berries, even beets!
The information expressed in this article is in no way intended to replace medical advice. Proper diagnosis of a sensitive or sensitized skin condition is critical to proper treatment. Consult a professional skin therapist or dermatologist to determine the source of your skin’s sensitivity.