In a perfect world, we’d all be able to afford the luxury of a live-in dermatologist, who would stand by our sides, morning and evening, to offer counsel for our skin. Because the world is flawed, the next best thing we could think of was to ask you what skin issues were plaguing you, and then have your favourite experts answer them. Consider us your skincare medium to the ~other side~. In our first instalment of An Expert A Day, we ask Dr Gary Goldfaden, dermatologist and founder of Goldfaden MD, the following question:

How does one develop skin redness and sensitivity? Are there any lifestyle changes one can implement, or ingredients one should incorporate into their routine, to help reduce it?

Facial redness generally affects those with fair skin. The more fair you are, the more prone you may be to facial redness. However, facial redness may be a symptom of rosacea. If you think you may be suffering from rosacea, you should be diagnosed by a dermatologist. Heat and warm temperatures, as well as certain foods, drinks, and topical products, can encourage and induce facial redness.

Exercise-induced redness occurs when the small capillaries widen to send more oxygen to the muscles. The fairer the skin, the more this will show on the face and body. Exercise-induced redness can also occur due to the body temperature rising, as extra blood rushes to the surface of the skin as a result of working hard. So, what can you do to minimize this? Exercising inside will help with body temperature. Imagine the difference between running outdoors in 85-degree weather and running in the gym with the air conditioner on. The bottom line is: If you’re doing your workout correctly, you’ll be so high on endorphins, a little redness won’t bother you. If excessive redness does occur, try a cool compress, splashing your face with very cold water, going indoors, and allowing your body to cool off. Wearing a little concealer on areas that do tend to become red can help, too.

Overuse of acids or exfoliating products can cause sensitivity or facial redness. If this occurs, try and cut back on the frequency of use. Not all acids and scrubs are appropriate for all skin types. As wonderful as retinol is, facial redness can be one of its side effects. Mixing treatment products with a milder moisturizer may help reduce the chance of redness.

If you are prone to facial redness, especially during the warmer months, try and limit the use of retinol, glycolic acid, aggressive exfoliants (be gentle when scrubbing), alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, and sugar. If you want to keep to your regimen, cut back on the number of days you use these ingredients and products. Also, beware of foods and drinks that induce redness. Increase your intake of cooling, soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as red tea (rooibos), green tea, oatmeal, vitamin E, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA).


Photography, Blair Gauld. Model, Britt Odell at Priscillas.