Many people are concerned and affected by issues of skin redness. They may have some form of rosacea, skin irritation, or cumulative sun damage resulting in surface redness, distended capillaries (telangiectasia), or genetically red, splotchy skin.
Genetics play a major role in skin coloration. Individuals of Western European descent are more likely to exhibit issues with redness. Persons of Irish, Scottish, British, or Scandinavian background—who tend to be fair-skinned— are more likely to have skin that reddens easily. The Fitzpatrick Scale is a system of skin analysis that types skin based on its lightness or darkness, and how quickly the skin is affected by sun exposure.
The Fitzpatrick system ranks skin on a 1–6 scale. People with Fitzpatrick Type 1 skin tend to have very light-colored skin, red or blond hair, and blue or green eyes, and burn easily when exposed to the sun.
GENERAL RULES FOR REDNESS-PRONE SKIN
Avoid heat of all types.
Heat causes blood vessels and the blood itself to expand, resulting in redness flares. In clients with rosacea, flares of redness cause production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a signaling protein made in the cells that causes growth, expansion, and formation of new blood vessels. Heat from sun exposure or other forms of heat exposure to the skin can cause this reaction, as well as immediate redness.
Avoid heat-generating skin treatments.
This includes prolonged skin steaming (if warm steam is used, administer steam at a distance of at least 15 inches) and sauna treatments. Avoid electric heat masks, heat lamps, exothermic (heat-releasing) masks, and paraffin face masks. Use lukewarm or cool towels instead of hot towels for mask removal. Cool Lucas spray is appropriate and may be very soothing.
Invest in a cool steamer.
An ultrasonic drum creates water microparticles that present as cool vapor. This permits skin exposure to a hydrating mist without redness-aggravating heat. These ultrasonic steamers are great for all redness-prone issues and post-laser treatments.
The sun is a major source of ultraviolet ray exposure that can also cause damage to the skin and blood vessels. Long-term cumulative sun exposure can result in chronic skin redness and the formation of multiple telangiectasias. This also includes the avoidance of tanning beds and booths. Spray tans are an acceptable alternative.
Avoid stimulating treatments and products.
These types of products stimulate blood circulation, and while they may be helpful for mature, drier skin types, they can worsen redness conditions and cause potential flares of redness.
Keep the epidermal barrier function intact.
Avoid heavy-foaming cleansers that may contain stronger surfactants, as well as drying alcohols that can not only strip surface protective oils but can also act as a solvent for barrier lipids. Redness is a major symptom of an impaired lipid barrier. An impaired barrier allows vital moisture out of the skin and makes it easy for irritants to penetrate the skin’s surface, causing inflammation and potential redness. Home care products that contain ceramides can help repair and protect the barrier function. Ceramides can be mixed into everything from sunscreens to night creams and serums, and are important treatment ingredients for redness-prone skin.
Use products that have been dermatologist-tested for irritancy and allergy potential.
These tested products, in general, are less likely to cause irritation and are less likely to contain ingredients that might cause redness to flare.
Avoid fragranced products.
Fragrance can be pleasant, but 63 percent of all cosmetic allergic reactions are caused by fragrance! Stay away from fragranced products on this fragile skin type.
Be very careful with peels and exfoliating procedures and products.
Never peel skin that is currently redness-flared. Overuse of any exfoliants, chemical or mechanical, can cause barrier function issues and result in an irritant reaction. Lightweight low-concentration alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic peels are generally acceptable, as long as they are not used frequently and are not applied to already-flared skin.
Use cooling gel (non-drying) masks.
Masks containing soothing, antiredness ingredients such as matricaria, green tea, grapeseed extract, sea whip, allantoin, or aloe vera may be helpful in quick redness reduction. Look for these ingredients in serum form for home use as well.
By using these general rules to educate your client about redness- prone skin and how to keep it calm, you’ll create a loyal clientele who trust you with their skin issues.
- Fartasch, M. (1997). Ultrastructure of the epidermal barrier after irritation. Microscopy research and technique, 37(3), 193-199.
- Powell, F. C. (2005). Rosacea. New England Journal of Medicine, 352(8), 793-803.