A good face serum has become an indispensable skin care product for many. Whatever skin concern you have, there is a serum to address it.
Are you noticing a reddening of your face after using a serum? You are not alone as this is a common occurrence. The utilization of serums in high amounts or frequency can cause the walls of the blood vessels in the skin to expand, leading to a widening of the blood vessels.
Moreover, incredibly harsh cleansers can contribute to skin reddening because they strip away the protective layer of the skin.
Does Serum Cause Facial Redness?
Skin redness can occur due to various inflammatory skin conditions, including rosacea, sensitivity, and allergic reactions.
Some serums may cause redness or irritation on the face, particularly if the user has sensitive skin or is allergic to an ingredient in the serum.
Redness caused by serums may be temporary in some cases, and it may be a sign that the product is working and the skin is adjusting to it.
However, if the redness and irritation persist, the product may be unsuitable for your skin type and should be discontinued. Also, a highly concentrated serum may cause irritation and redness instead of benefiting your skin.
Some Serum Ingredients That Cause Facial Irritation and Redness
Skin redness, dryness, and flaking can be caused by salicylic acid, vitamin C, glycolic acid, retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, (1) and beta-hydroxy acids. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions, you may experience redness and irritation after using a serum.
- At high concentrations (3% and 5%), alpha hydroxy acid and glycolic acid can cause skin irritation, redness, and chemical burns. (1)
- When used at 2% or higher concentrations, salicylic acid can cause local skin peeling and discomfort, resulting in irritation and redness on facial skin. (2)
- L-Ascorbic acid may cause skin irritation and dryness, especially on sensitive skin. According to studies, a concentration of more than 20% does not increase its biological significance and, on the contrary, may cause irritation, which may result in skin redness. (3)
Note: If you experience any redness, burning, or stinging, remove the product from your skin immediately.
Thus, some serums such as alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids may cause redness if used at higher concentrations and if your skin is very sensitive. The good news is there are anti-redness serums, such as those that contain niacinamide and panthenol, that may help to reduce redness when used at optimal concentrations.
Why Serums Make Your Face Red?
Possible reasons serums can lead to skin redness include:
- You are applying a serum that is too harsh for your skin type.
- You are not using enough serum, which can irritate the skin.
- You may be simply sensitive to the serum.
- Your skin is sensitive and acne prone. (4)
When Should a Face Serum Be Used?
It is usually alright to use face serums twice a day, once before doing your makeup in the morning and once before you retire for the night.
However, it is essential to check the instructions on the product label for extra information on using the serum. Some serums should not be used during the day, while some may work best when exposed to sunlight.
Therefore, it is crucial to read all the instructions before introducing any serum into your regular skin care regimen.
Precautions When Using a New Serum
Strong ingredients may irritate sensitive skin. Before applying a skin serum to a large area, always patch test it first.
Also, use caution when combining acid-containing serums with other acid-containing products. For example, if you use an acidic vitamin C serum alongside a retinol cream or a retinol serum alongside a prescription retinol cream, your skin may become irritated.
DIY Home Remedies for Facial Skin Redness
Here are some of the things you can do at home to manage reddening of facial skin.
1. Apply coconut oil
Coconut oil has become a sought-after natural skin care product. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties, (5) which treat various skin conditions and aid in reducing skin redness.
How to apply:
Apply a small amount of high-quality coconut oil directly to the area of redness.
2. Apply green tea
The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea are well known. Instead of drinking hot tea, apply it topically to your face to eliminate redness. (6)
How to apply:
- Make yourself a cup of green tea as you usually would. Then, please place it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to cool.
- Soak a clean cloth in the tea and massage it over the affected areas.
- To improve results, apply this home remedy regularly.
3. Apply honey
Honey adds moisture to the skin because it is a humectant. Because skin dryness is known to aggravate rosacea, adding moisture can help keep symptoms at bay.
Raw honey is one of the most effective home remedies for rosacea on your nose, face, and skin. (7)
How to apply:
- Apply a small amount of honey on your face and allow it to dry completely.
- Wash it off after 30 minutes with lukewarm water.
4. Apply aloe vera
Because of its healing properties, aloe vera is regarded as one of the best cures for skin problems. This succulent plant can be used to make soothing and moisturizing skin care products.
Aloe vera is commonly found in moisturizers, but it is also found in gels, lotions, and even shampoos. These aloe vera products reduce facial redness when combined with skin rejuvenation treatments. (8)
How to apply:
- Wash your face gently with water and a mild cleanser.
- Pat your skin dry.
- Apply a thin aloe vera gel to the affected area. Avoid rubbing the aloe vera gel on your skin, and keep it away from your eyes.
- After 10 to 15 minutes, wash off the gel.
General Queries Related to Facial Redness
What causes redness on your face?
Various factors can cause facial redness, including sunburn, excessive heat, spicy foods, and low altitudes.
How can you instantly reduce redness on the face?
By shrinking the blood vessels on the skin’s surface, a moderately cold temperature can help reduce redness. To prepare a cold compress, place a damp cloth in the fridge for a few minutes, and then put it onto your skin to ease any discomfort or burning.
Can niacinamide serums make the face look flushed?
Niacinamide is effective in reducing redness. There can be very mild irritation if used at a concentration higher than 10%, according to studies. (9)
Serums can improve skin appearance by preventing wrinkles, dryness, irritation, and skin aging, but some may cause facial irritation and redness.
Moreover, serums contain highly concentrated ingredients and may cause facial redness when used excessively. A serum that is unsuitable for your skin type may also result in the same problem.
To get rid of redness, try the home remedies mentioned in this article. A doctor should be consulted if the redness persists for an extended period.
- Tang S-C, Yang J-H. Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017965/. Published April 10, 2018.
- Liu H, Yu H, Xia J, et al. Topical azelaic acid, salicylic acid, nicotinamide, sulphur, zinc and fruit acid (alpha-hydroxy acid) for acne. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193765/. Published May 1, 2020.
- Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical vitamin C and the skin: Mechanisms of action and clinical applications. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/. Published July 2017.
- Acne: Overview – informedhealth.org – NCBI bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279211/.
- Varma SR, Sivaprakasam TO, Arumugam I, et al. in vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of virgin coconut oil. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/. Published January 17, 2018.
- N; FGPMPNB. Reduction of facial redness with resveratrol added to topical product containing green tea polyphenols and caffeine. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23884488/.
- McLoone P, Oluwadun A, Warnock M, Fyfe L. Honey: A therapeutic agent for disorders of the skin. Central Asian journal of global health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5661189/. Published August 4, 2016.
- Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe Vera: A short review. Indian journal of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/. Published 2008.
- Final report of the safety assessment of NIACINAMIDE and niacin. International journal of toxicology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16596767/.