Scientific Skincare - Skincare Ingredients for Redness

8 of the Best Skincare Ingredients for Redness

Are you suffering from red, inflamed skin that leaves you looking permanently embarrassed? This type of redness is a common complaint for those who suffer with acne, rosacea, or sensitive skin. Sure, redness is easily covered with make-up, but why cover it up when you can fix the underlying causes instead?

That’s where the right skincare ingredients come in!

A number of skincare ingredients are excellent at targeting the underlying causes of redness and skin flushing, such as inflammation and irritation.

These ingredients generally work by directly reducing inflammation or by improving the skin’s barrier function and, thus, soothing and calming the skin.

Before we dive deep into the details of the best skincare ingredients for redness, let’s have a quick look at the role of the skin’s barrier and why damage to this barrier can cause irritation and inflammation.

Inflammation & Redness Caused By Skin Barrier Damage

The skin’s barrier is officially referred to as the ‘stratum corneum’, it is the outermost layer of the skin that protects our body from the outside environment, regulates the water in and out of our skin, and helps control our body temperature.

It consists of skin cells that are held together by a mixture of lipids, such as ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. These lipids play a vital role in controlling how much water can pass in and out of the skin.

When the levels of lipids are reduced, more water is able to escape from the skin and more irritants are able to enter. This causes irritation, inflammation, and redness!

The skin’s barrier function can be improved by replacing and increasing these lipids or by directly hydrating skin. Research suggests that skincare ingredients that can improve the skin’s barrier function can also reduce redness [1].

So what are these skincare ingredients?

Let’s see, shall we?

Here are 8 of the best skincare ingredients for redness…

Best Skincare Ingredients For Redness

8 of the Best Skincare Ingredients for Redness


Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, can increase the levels of lipids within the stratum corneum which reduces the amount of water lost from the skin and increases overall hydration [2]. It is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is more effective at treating acne than a commonly used antibiotic [3].

A clinical study found that applying niacinamide twice a day for four weeks improved the skins barrier function, reduced the amount of water lost from the skin, and increased overall skin hydration. This also drastically improved facial redness [1]. Other research has found similar anti-redness effects of niacinamide [4].


Ceramides are a popular ingredient in moisturisers due to their ability to improve skin hydration and reduce inflammation. The levels of ceramides in the skin has been found to be greatly reduced in those with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Research suggests that creams containing ceramides can significantly improve skin barrier function, reduce the amount of water lost from the skin, and increase overall skin hydration as quickly as 30 minutes after application. Longer-term use of these creams, over a period of 4 – 8 weeks can also lead to excellent improvements in skin redness [5].

Centella Asiatica

Centella Asiatica, commonly referred to as ‘Cica’, is an extract from a plant found in Asia. It is a popular ingredient in K-beauty brands for its varied skin benefits, including its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This ingredient has also demonstrated an ability to improve the appearance of acne-related redness [6].

Studies have found that Centella Asiatica extracts can increase skin hydration [7] as well as the levels of antioxidants within the skin [8], both of which help reduce inflammation and irritation. In fact, centella’s hydrating effects have been found to be accompanied by reductions in skin irritation and redness [7].

Other research has found that Centella Asiatica can reduce the redness and inflammation caused by atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin conditions [9].


Cytokinins, or plant hormones, are relatively unknown and underrated skincare ingredients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Research suggests that cytokinins improve skin barrier function by reducing the amount of water lost through the skin and increasing overall hydration [10]. In addition, they can reduce facial redness in 80% of people after 12-weeks of use [11].

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for the production of collagen and plays a role in creating and maintaining the lipids, particularly ceramides, within the skin’s barrier [12]. This means that it also indirectly helps maintain skin hydration.

Some research has found that certain forms of vitamin C can reduce the inflammation and redness associated with acne [13]. Other studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce facial redness, as well as visible blood vessels, when used daily for 6 weeks [14].

Snail Mucin

Snail mucin, or slime, is another popular K-Beauty ingredient that contains a number of ingredients that are beneficial for the skin, including allantoin hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid.

One clinical study found that snail mucin was able to increase skin hydration by 91% after 90 days of treatment [15].

At one point in time, snail mucin was used as a treatment for radiation dermatitis (skin irritation caused by radiation treatment) due to its ability to improve wound healing and reduce inflammation. In fact, multiple research studies have found snail mucin to be particularly effective for this purpose.

As snail mucin can increase skin hydration dramatically and reduce inflammation, it is an excellent ingredient to treat facial redness.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a plant extract commonly used to relieve sunburn and soothe irritated skin. Like snail mucin, the extract contains a number of beneficial ingredients, including vitamins A, C, and E, saponins, and amino acids.

It has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and antibacterial effects [16] and can help reduce acne-related facial redness [17]. Other research has shown that aloe vera can reduce the redness, irritation, and inflammation caused by irritant dermatitis [18].

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is often used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and rosacea due to its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.

It is well-known for its ability to reduce facial redness which has been observed in multiple clinical studies. One study found that azelaic acid reduced facial redness by 56% when used twice a day [19]. Other research has demonstrated reductions of 44 – 46% [20].


So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get rid of that redness with these 8 anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and soothing skincare ingredients!



  1. Draelos, Z., Ertel, K. & Berge, C. (2005). ‘Niacinamide-containing facial moisturiser improves skin barrier and benefits subjects with rosacea’, Therap Clin., 76, 135-141. Available at:
  2. Tanno, O., Ota, Y., Kitamura, N., Katsube, T. & Inoue, S. (2000). ‘Nicotinamide increases biosynthesis of ceramides as well as other stratum corneum lipids to improve the epidermal permeability barrier’, Br J Derm., 143, 524-531. Available at:
  3. Shalita, A., Smith, J., Parish, L., Sofman, M. & Chalker, S. (1995). ‘Topical nicotinamide compared with clindamycin gel in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris. International Journal of Dermatology, 34, 434-437. Available at:
  4. Wozniacka, M., Wiecorkowska, M., Gebicki, J. & Sysa-Jedrzejowska, A. (2005). ‘Topical application of l-methylnicotinamide in the treatment of rosacea: a pilot study’, Exp. Dermatol. 30(6), 632-635. Available at:
  5. Sparavigna, A., Tenconi, B. & De Ponti, I. (2014). ‘Preliminary open-label clinical evaluation of the soothing and reepithelialisation properties of a novel topical formulation for rosacea’. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 7, 275-283. Available at:
  6. Beltrami, B., Vassallo, C., Berardesca, E. & Borroni, G. (2001). ‘Antinflammatory, antimicrobial, comedolytic effects of a topical plant complex treatment in acne vulgaris: A clinical trial’, J Appl Cosmetol., 19, 11-20. Available at:,-ANTIMICROBIAL,-COMEDOLYTIC-EFFECTS-OF-A-TOPICAL-PLANT-COMPLEX-REATMENT-IN-ACNE-VULGARIS—A-CLINICAL-TRIAL.pdf
  7. Ratz-Lyko, A., Arct, J. & Pytkowska, K. (2016). ‘Moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties of cosmetic formulations containing Centella asiatica extract’, Indian J Pharm Sci., 78(1), 27-33. Available at:
  8. Shukla, A., Rasik, A. & Dhawan, B. (1999). ‘Asiaticoside-induced elevation of antioxidant levels in healing wounds’, Phytother Res., 13(1), 50-54. Available at:
  9. Ho, J., Sung, J., Cheon, K. & Tae, J. (2018). ‘Anti-inflammatory effect of Centella asiatica phytosome in a mouse model of phthalic anhydride-induced atopic dermatitis’, Phytomedicine, 43, 110-119. Available at:
  10. McCullough, J., Garcia, M. & Reece, B. (2008). ‘A clinical study of topical pyratine 6 for improving the appearance of photodamaged skin’, Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 7(2), 131-135. Available at:
  11. Ortiz, A., Elkeeb, L., Truitt, A., Hidiyeh, R., Aquino, L., Tran, M. & Weinstein, G. (2009). ‘Topical PRK 124 (0.125%) lotion for improving the signs and symptoms of rosacea’, J Drugs Dermatol., 8(5), 459-452. Available at:
  12. Ponec, M., Weerheim, A., Kempenaar, J., Mulder, A., Gooris, G., Bouwstra, J. & Mommass, A. (1997). ‘The formation of competent barrier lipids in reconstructed human epidermis requires the presence of vitamin C’, J Invest Dermatol, 109, 348-355. Available at:
  13. Ruamrak, C., Lourith, N. & Natakankitkul, S. (2009). ‘Comparison of clinical efficacies of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, retinol, and their combination in acne treatment’, Int J Cosmet Sci., 31(1), 41-46. Available at:
  14. Jaros, A., Zasada, M., Budzisz, E., Debowska, R., Gebczynska-Rzepka, M. & Rotsztejn, H. (2018). ‘Evaluation of selected skin parameters following the application of 5% vitamin C concentrate’, J Cos Derm., 18(1), pp. 236-241. Available at:
  15. Addor, F. (2018). ‘Topical effects of SCA (Cryptomphalus aspersa secretion) associated with regenerative and antioxidant ingredients on aged skin: evaluation by confocal and clinical microscopy’, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigative Dermatology, 12, 133-140. Available at:
  16. Surjushe, A., Vasani, R. & Saple, D. (2008). ‘Aloe Vera: A short review’, Indian J Dermatol., 53(4), 163-166. Available at:
  17. Mazzarello, V., Donadu, M., Ferrari, M., Piga, G., Usai, D., Zanetti, S. & Sotgiu, M. (2018). ‘Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and aloe vera compared to erythromycin cream: two double-blind investigations’, Clin Pharmacol., 10, 175-181. Available at:
  18. West, D. & Zhu, Y. (2003). ‘Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure’, Am J Infect Control., 31(1), 40-42. Available at:
  19. Gollnick, H. & Layton, A. (2008). ‘Azelaic acid 15% gel in the treatment of rosacea’, Exp Opin Pharmacotherapy., 15, 2699-2706. Available at:
  20. Onder, M. & Adisen, E. (2008). ‘Photographic Evaluation of 15% Azelaic Acid Gel in Acne Rosacea’, J Turkish Acad Dermatol., 2(3), Available at:

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