Red spots and blemishes are one of the most common skin issues we all inevitably deal with at some point or another. While most red spots will clear up on their own over time, when you have an important upcoming event or meeting, you don’t have time to wait. Not to worry, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the appearance of red spots and blemishes so they go away quick. We go over the most common fixes for redness below.
Some creams can be effective in reducing redness. Hydroquinone is a skin lightening cream that can slow down the production of melanin (the pigment that gives our skin color) in the skin. This works better on those with darker skin tones where blemishes have a browner hue.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid can also help lighten and create more even looking skin through its antioxidant properties. Kojic acid is another option that helps promote cell turnover and reduce redness by removing dead skin cells.
In some cases where red spots are indented in the skin, for example with acne scars, topical treatments will not be effective. In these cases, targeted light treatments may be able to reduce redness and restore an even skin tone. IPL, also known as flashlamp therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that targets the lower levels of the skin (dermis) using high-intensity pulses of visible light. This causes micro-injuries to the skin which helps encourage new collagen production in the affected area, resulting in a more even complexion. IPL is similar to laser treatments in the fact that they both use light waves, but laser treatments use a single wavelength of light while IPL uses a broad spectrum in combination with filters.
In addition, laser treatments can either be ablative or non-ablative. Ablative laser treatments cause injury to the top layers of the skin which are then removed while non-ablative treatments target the lower layers of the skin through heat damage. It’s best to consult a doctor or dermatologist to see which option is right for your specific skin concern. A popular non-ablative laser treatment is the Fraxel laser treatment.
AHA or BHA Exfoliants
Another way to get rid of redness on the skin is to encourage the turnover of skin cells so that the skin heals faster. This can be done through exfoliation. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells, revealing new skin underneath. When you typically think of exfoliation you may imagine a salt or sugar scrub. While these manual exfoliants can be good for everyday skin care, chemical exfoliants are usually more effective in penetrating the skin deeply.
BHA or beta hydroxyl acid is able to go deep into the pores, removing oil and getting rid of dead skin cells and buildup that can create redness and breakouts. AHA or alpha hydroxy acid generally works only on the surface of the skin, which is still helpful in lightening the skin and reducing redness, but not as good at getting deep in pores to treat acne or breakouts. Two common AHAs are glycolic and lactic acid.
Try a natural remedy to get rid of red spots
While they are often not as potent as over the counter treatments, sometimes a natural remedy can help reduce redness with the added bonus that you probably already have the ingredients for it in your kitchen. One redness reducer you can try is putting sliced, chilled cucumber on the red spot for 15-20 minutes. Cucumbers contain vitamin C that acts as an anti-inflammatory and the cold temperature helps bring down any swelling in the red area. Green tea is another anti-inflammatory ingredient.
To unlock its benefits, simply steep several tea bags in a pot of boiling water. Then, soak a washcloth in the tea and use it to cleanse your face. If your red spots are from dryness and irritation and not acne or a breakout, you can try putting coconut oil on the red spot. Coconut oil is a powerful moisturizer and emollient that can restore moisture to the skin, helping to reduce dryness and redness. Don’t use it if you have acne or a breakout though, as it is very thick and can sometimes clog pores.