Simplifying Skincare
4 min readJan 16, 2022

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Top 8 ingredients to calm skin inflammation and redness

Photo by Angélica Echeverry on Unsplash

If your skin feels dry, red, itchy, swollen, irritated, sensitive to touch, or stings when using certain products your skin is inflamed and the barrier is compromised.

Skin inflammation or sensitivity comes in many forms, acne being the first that comes to mind. Other common conditions include rosacea (skin redness and often accompanied by pimples), atopic dermatitis or eczema (red, dry, and itchy skin), contact dermatitis (allergic reaction to a product ingredient), and over-exfoliating the face.

How to avoid skin sensitivity?

  1. Wear your sunscreen — Sun protection is paramount since the sun is the most powerful trigger for most people’s skin. Along with applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wear a wide brim hat when stepping outside.
  2. Know your triggers — If your skin is aggravated right after a hot shower, or after drinking alcohol, exercising, after using a certain product, try and avoid these triggers. Especially if you have skin of color, it’s extremely important to protect your skin from any kind of inflammation or trauma. This inflammation can trigger your melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment melanin) and lead to hyperpigmentation which is very difficult to treat.
  3. Pare down your skincare routine — If you are prone to redness and irritation don’t go crazy with your skincare routine; focus on moisturizing and calming the skin. We all know exfoliation is great for anti-aging but using chemical exfoliation every day or harsh physical scrubs on the face can damage the skin barrier.

Here’s a list of product ingredients to look for to combat these issues.

  1. Niacinamide — Hailed as a multitasking ingredient — it improves skin hydration, fades hyperpigmentation, reduces wrinkles, fights acne, and calms sensitive and inflamed skin. The best part is it works on all skin types and should be part of every skincare regimen. In the grand hierarchy of skincare superheroes, Niacinamide is right up there with retinoid and Vitamin C.
  2. Centella Asiatica — Also known as tiger grass or gotu kola, this ingredient has been used in traditional and modern medicine for many years now and is becoming increasingly popular in topical formulations. Research indicates that gotu kola has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties making it a powerful ingredient to soothe, hydrate and protect the skin barrier. Another study showed significant reduction of crow’s feet wrinkles indicating it’s benefit for anti-aging.
  3. Ceramides — They are a type of fatty lipid that make up our skin barrier and are responsible for keeping it watertight, thus creating an optimal environment for the skin. When our skin doesn’t have enough of them, the barrier becomes compromised leading to issues such as dryness, irritation, redness, and so on. According to research, replenishing the skin with ceramides is the most effective way to increase skin hydration and maintain healthy barrier function.
  4. Allantoin — This ingredient has managed to stay under the radar all this while despite its amazing benefits. Sensitive skin needs soothing and moisturizing ingredients to calm and repair the skin barrier, and allantoin delivers on that. Research indicates it has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness, irritation, and repair the skin barrier; research also hails its benefits as a good moisturizer for dry, rough skin.
  5. Panthenol — Also known as pantothenic acid, this ingredient is a form of Vitamin B5. Research indicates this ingredient is great for soothing irritated skin due to its anti-inflammatory effects. It also holds water in the outermost layer of skin making it an excellent moisturizer for dry skin. Research also indicates its effectiveness in protecting and restoring the skin barrier which is vital for managing skin sensitivity.
  6. Licorice root extracts — This ingredient is a multitasking powerhouse and deserves a standing ovation. It’s a powerful skin brightener (inhibits the production of excess melanin, and also removes it when in excess); acts as an antioxidant to mop up the damage caused by UV rays; and according to research it’s a potent anti-inflammatory and helps soothe eczema.
  7. Aloe vera — You’ll see it in a variety of gels, lotions, creams, and also in its native form as a succulent plant. On the product ingredients label it is typically listed as aloe barbadensis. Despite the glowing testimonials from people on its miraculous effects on skin, there’s not enough scientific evidence to substantiate most of these claims. Research does support two main benefits — to soothe and moisturize the skin. It has a cooling effect when applied to skin making it particularly useful for treating sunburns. Also, since aloe vera is mainly water it acts as a skin hydrator by preventing water loss from the epidermis (outermost layer of skin).
  8. Green tea — This is another versatile ingredient and is known to possess high amounts of antioxidants important to fight cellular and DNA damage. When it comes to topical application, research indicates its effectiveness in fighting UV induced photodamage and calming redness and inflammation on the skin. So, let’s make sure we not only drink our green tea but also use it on the skin.

The bottom line….

You can take all the care in the world, but skin sensitivity, irritation and redness happen. So, make sure you pay close attention to the triggers and treat any issues promptly with the right product ingredients.

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Simplifying Skincare

Glow getter for Skin of Color | Expert tips for Radiant Skin | Lets shine together! Certified multitasker juggling a 9-5 in finance, 2 kids, and a passion!