Red, irritated skin can happen for many different reasons (from acne to allergies and beyond), but it’s all caused by one thing: inflammation and damage to the tiny blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. If you’re dealing with redness, here are six ingredients to look for the next time you are shopping for creams, cleaners and serums. Arm yourself with this anti-redness arsenal and you can calm redness, soothe irritation, and even out skin tone.
Also known as dipotassium glycyrrhizate or glycyrrhiza glabra root extract, licorice has powerful anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing capabilities. And because it inhibits the skin’s melanin production, it may also have a brightening effect on hyperpigmentation and discoloration .
This compound can be found naturally in a few different plants including comfrey, chamomile and sugar beets. Known for its ability to soothe the skin and heal damage, the popular ingredient is found in almost every type of beauty product including lotions, shampoos and lipsticks.
Indian frankincense or Boswellia serrata is extracted from the gum resin of the Boswellia serrata tree. Research shows that it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory because of its ability to inhibit certain enzymes that cause inflammation.
This sugar derived from yeast, oats, mushrooms and barley has been shown to lessen the appearance of redness and other signs of skin sensitivity. It’s an anti-irritant and antioxidant that helps fend off environmental damage.
A key component of K-beauty cica creams, centella asiatica is a botanical extract also known as tiger grass, gotu kola, and asiatic acid. It’s known to be effective in promoting the healing of wounds and suppressing inflammation, making it an excellent ingredient for red, irritated and acne-prone skin. One of the key active compounds of centella is madecassic acid, so keep an eye out for that on labels, too.
Salicylic acid or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) sometimes gets a bad rap because it’s often added to harsh, drying acne treatments. However, it turns out that salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory superstar. In addition to its ability to exfoliate and unclog pores, it soothes redness and inflammation. If you experience redness and irritation in combination with acne, give salicylic acid a try.