Home Remedies for Red Skin

Various conditions can lead to irritated, red skin. Causes can range from a temporary sensitivity to a chronic skin problem. Common culprits of red skin or red spots include:

  • Dry skin
  • Sunburn
  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Red skin may be bumpy or have an itchy, rash-like texture. For some people, particularly those with rosacea, redness may get worse by getting too hot or overly emotional.

Red skin can be hard to hide, but here are some simple home remedies you can try using ingredients you may already have on hand.

Home Remedy: How to Tone Down Red Skin

Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist and director of the Skin Specialty Group and the Ethnic Skin Specialty Group in New York City, suggests that you can manage red skin with:

  • Honey
  • Cucumber
  • Chamomile tea bags (brewed)
  • Aloe vera

For instance, Dr. Cook-Bolden suggests placing cucumber slices directly on any red spots to cool, soothe, and reduce redness. Want more relief? She recommends making a simple mask by blending a cucumber and a cup of oatmeal.

Another home remedy Cook-Bolden likes for soothing red skin is a clay mask. Mix water or pureed fruit with facial clay to create a thick paste. Apply the mixture to skin for 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

Note that if you have rosacea, it’s important to avoid all triggers that make the redness worse, says Cook-Bolden, including smoking, caffeine, and foods that are very hot or spicy.

Home Remedy: Reducing Inflammation

Red skin or red spots on the skin can also occur because of inflammation — due to skin that is too dry or is irritated by an allergen or acne.

Honey has natural anti-inflammatory properties, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in San Diego, Calif. Try soothing skin with a honey mask. First rinse your skin with warm water, then apply honey liberally to red skin and leave it on for about 30 minutes before rinsing off. However, don’t use honey if your red skin is due to a sunburn.

Oatmeal is another natural anti-inflammatory, says Dr. Benabio. An oatmeal bath is not only hydrating for dry skin, but can also reduce the inflammation that causes red skin.

If your skin is red because it's extremely dry, try making a mask out of a mashed avocado to moisturize it.

Home Remedy: Soothing Sunburn

If your skin is red from a sunburn, Cook-Bolden recommends easing the sting and redness with a mixture of gel from an aloe vera plant, white vinegar, and cider vinegar. She also suggests using these natural home remedy options to soothe sunburned skin:

  • Yogurt
  • Lavender oil
  • Cooled tea (chamomile is particularly soothing)
  • Cucumber slices

Cook-Bolden is also a proponent of coconut oil. Coconut oil can help to reduce red skin caused by sun exposure thanks to its antioxidant properties, she says. "Pure virgin coconut oil is the best formulation for sunburn and, although its exact mechanism of action is unknown, it has been extensively used in ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system."

It is thought that coconut oil gets absorbed into the skin and the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage excessive sun exposure can cause. This protects the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, she says. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties that benefit the skin. However, it should not be used as a substitute for a good sunscreen.

If your red skin persists, it's a good idea to get evaluated by a dermatologist who can determine if you need a prescription treatment or to make lifestyle changes. But to soothe red skin that's simply irritated, dry, or sunburned, a home remedy may well be a quick and easy solution to restore calm to your complexion.

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