If you're fighting skin redness before your wedding day, reaching for the concealer is not the answer. No matter what color-correcting makeup you pile on, that flush won't go away until you figure out what's actually causing it. We asked New York City dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD, about the reasons your face might be turning red — and how to fix it before you walk down the aisle.
Sensitive Skin: If your redness flares up after you apply cleanser, moisturizer, or makeup, you might be having a reaction to an ingredient or fragrance in a product, Chapas says. Take a few days off from base makeup, and switch to a hypoallergenic cleanser and moisturizer. Then, start adding back products one by one to see what's causing a reaction. If your face is still red even with hypoallergenic products, Chapas says, your flare-ups could be caused by an environmental trigger, like household cleaners or allergens in the air. Try adding an anti-inflammatory serum, like La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense, to your routine.
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Harsh Products: Overusing products with harsh ingredients, like salycilic acid (found in most anti-acne cleansers), benzoyl peroxide (a powerful acne fighter), and retinoids (anti-agers) can cause irritation and redness, especially in the first few months you use them. Don't start a new skin routine eight weeks or sooner before your wedding, and if you notice redness after using an anti-acne or anti-aging product, switch it out before you say "I do".
Rosacea: If your face is persistently red, even after tossing irritating products, and if the redness comes with a stinging or burning sensation, it could be rosacea. There's no cure for this common disorder (up to 16 million Americans have it), which causes flare-ups of a sunburn-like flush, sometimes accompanied by bumps and pimples. But, Dr. Chapas says, there are plenty of topical treatments that go a long way in reducing redness. Ask your dermatologist for a prescription treatment, like Metrogel or Oracea, and head to the drugstore for products containing Butcher's Broom (or ruscus), an extract proven to treat rosacea symptoms. We like Avene Antirougeurs FORT Relief Concentrate.
Aging: "Sun damage and age-related collagen loss can thin your skin over time, causing the blood vessels underneath to become more visible," Dr. Chapas says. Retinol products will help even your skin tone, but look for gentler versions (0.5% retinol or less) to avoid additional irritation and redness. Dr. Chapas loves